Friday, July 02, 2021

America--More than an "Idea"

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During his presidential campaign, Joe Biden tweeted, "America was an idea."

He repeated it again just the other day. 

His words struck me, first, because he spoke in the past tense, and because America never was  merely an "idea."

It was and is a vision enabled by God's Providence. And a lot of hard work and personal sacrifice.

As we celebrate the 4th of  July this weekend--- Independence Day---let's take a closer look at some of the hard work and some of the Providence.

Be informed, not misled.

President Biden said and has repeatedly said, "America was an idea. We've never lived up to it but we've never walked from it before."

He followed up by promising that his leadership of the country will take us to the place of living up to "the idea."

Ideas are important but are usually birthed in the bowels of public education, where there are no real consequences for most ideas because they usually stay in the classroom.

America was born from a vision, not an idea. A vision is so important to sustaining life, that God's Word tells us without it "people perish."

America is a miracle nation.

It was a miracle that Columbus found this part of the world. It was a miracle that the early colonists survived and built a nation during those first 156 years. It was a miracle that they rebelled against the motherland and an even greater miracle that they won the Revolutionary War against overwhelming odds.

It was a miracle they survived the confederacy period (1774-1789), and still, another that they founded "upon this continent a new nation dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal"---under God, and equal before the law. It is still a miracle that this nation exists today as a strong and free people.

Our founding was preserved by a "thousand miracles."

George Washington said he was aware of at least 57 times during the Revolutionary War that he was protected by "Providence," and probably a thousand more he was not aware of.

British Major Patrick "Bulldog" Ferguson was resting with some men in a clump of trees when a party of American officers rode by without seeing them. One of Fergusen's sharpshooters aimed at the back of the biggest man on the biggest horse. Before he could squeeze the trigger, the major stopped him, telling him it was "ungentlemanly to shoot a fellow officer from hiding." The next day, Ferguson learned from an American prisoner that the officer was George Washington. 

Ferguson later said, "I'm not sorry that I didn't know at the time who he was. Not knowing made it unnecessary to choose between doing something he thought dishonorable and possibly ending the war and killing the enemy commander."

Hundreds of books have been written about the thousands of miracles that happened during the Revolutionary War.

Patrick K. O'Donnell is a best-selling author, critically acclaimed military historian, and former soldier who served as a combat historian in a Marine rifle platoon during the Battle of Fallujah. In his book "American Dunkirk; 'The Lads That Might Do Something'," he writes, "Two hundred and forty-five years ago, the fate of Washington's army---in fact, the fate of the entire Revolution---lay on the muscled shoulders of the fishermen and sailors of the Marblehead Regiment."

He picks up the storytelling how "a remarkable evacuation including a miraculous fog would create one of the greatest escapes in military history."

On August 27, 1776, the Americans had lost several battles in Brooklyn, and the British and Hessians had Washington's army trapped with their backs to the East River, and it looked like the Revolution might end just weeks after the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

Two days before a regiment of Marylanders known as Washington's Immortals bought Wahington's army a precious hour. Had the Marylanders not made a "suicidal" stand against the British at forts in Brooklyn Heights that afternoon, all the circumstances would have been aligned for a crushing American defeat.

A nor'easter had pelted both armies for two days---the British had constructed siege lines and entrenchments around the American defenses. The Royal Navy planned to sail behind these defenses and cut off their escape. The fate of the American army was sealed. The Revolution was over.

However, the weather, the wind, and the tides refused to cooperate.

The Americans not only had tens of thousands of British regulars and Hessian troops in front of them--but now they also had the extreme weather--winds and tides, and time.

It was then Washington decided to evacuate Brooklyn and retreat to Manhattan to make one last attempt to save the American army.

The Marbleheaders were the right men in the right place at the right time in history. For years they had worked together as a team, fishing in the Grand Banks in the icy waters of Nova Scotia. These men, their leadership, their grit, and their priceless experience sailing the most treacherous waters in the world would be indispensable in this one attempt to survive.

It was the middle of summer, the nights were short, daylight was long--the timing was everything. And the Americans were completely vulnerable. A British attack would be fatal.

Colonel John Glover led the regiment of Marblehead oarsmen and their boats. The team included African Americans, the young, the old, a Spaniard, Native Americans, even two pairs of father-sons.

In complete darkness, the oarsmen assembled the boats and prepared for the greatest challenge of their lives. Any light would tip off the British about the operation that was underway. The sailors had to trust their instincts to cross the mile-wide river.

At any moment the British navy could sail up the East River and blow up the American flotilla. 

Miraculously, the wind never shifted in the direction to power the British sails up the river.

At 10 PM, the order was given to begin transporting the troops. The sick and injured went first, the others would follow.

The story is a long list of "lucky" turns of events. None of the Americans attributed them to "luck."

One loyalist learned of Washington's evacuation and sent a slave to tell what the British forces were doing, but a language barrier caused the British to not receive the message until it was too late.

Just as daylight broke, creating the greatest vulnerability of the evacuation, a thick fog appeared and cloaked the rest of the escape.

One soldier, who was in the evacuation, wrote in his diary that the waters that had been so turbulent the night before became smooth as the fog rose. And it rose at exactly the right place at exactly the right time and proved crucial to saving the United States.

By 6 AM the sun was rising and the British were becoming aware that something was going on.

Many Americans saw the hand of God in the perfect timing and execution of the retreat. Had it not been for the providential shifting of the wind, not more than half the army could possibly have crossed---the remainder would have fallen into the enemy's hand.

When someone argues that America is not an exceptional nation, don't believe it.

The 1776 Report

President Trump put together a blue-ribbon commission to create a report that explains in truth, how the  Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were created. In addition, they were tasked with giving a historically correct overview of our nation's history.

This is a link to the report. I strongly encourage you to take a little time and read it.

This is a sample toward the end:

"To be an American means something noble and good. It means treasuring freedom and embracing the vitality of self-government. We are shaped by the beauty, bounty and wildness of our continent. We are united by the glory of our history. And we are distinguished by the American virtues of openness, honesty, optimism, determination, generosity, confidence, kindness, hard work, courage and hope.  Our principles did not create these virtues, but they laid the groundwork for them to grow and spread and forge America into the most just and glorious country in all of history."

What is the purpose of this "miracle" nation?

Some of us call it "manifest destiny." I believe God established this nation to do more to fulfill His basic objective of the age---to "preach the gospel to the ends of the earth." This nation has done more of that than any nation in the history of the world. By declaring religious freedom, coupled with the prosperity of this nation, we have sent more people to the ends of the earth to share the gospel than any nation in history.

Millions of Christians have given billions of dollars to extend the Lord's Kingdom. We have sent our sons and our daughters literally to the "ends of the earth" to share the message of Jesus Christ.

That's why this nation is exceptional. And that's why we exist, and will continue to do so until God's purposes are fulfilled for us.

At the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention, George Washington told his colleagues: 

"We have raised a standard to which the good and wise can repair; the event is in the hands of  God."

And it still is. God is in control. 

Have a great 4th of July weekend.

Be Informed. Be Discerning. Be Prayerful. Be Blessed. Be Free.