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In the first two years of our War for Independence from England, George Washington’s army had very few victories. They were out-manned, out-gunned, and out-supplied. Yet they refused to give up and clung tenaciously to the hope of liberty. And some miracles occurred in the winter and spring of 1778 which would begin to fulfill that hope.
As they had marched into Valley Forge to establish their winter camp, Washington spoke of how this was a most remarkable army. Though just volunteer farmers, they had stood up to the British army, the greatest in the world, with dogged determination. Even now, as they struggled into their winter camp, their sacrifice was evident. Many had clothes which hung in threads, exposing their naked bodies to the cold. Washington recorded how one could trace their steps by the path of blood left by many who had no shoes of any sort. That winter over 2000 of the 6000 man army would die from lack of food and exposure to the elements. Yet, they stayed. Their love of liberty meant more than any physical hardship they were experiencing.
And in answer to prayer, God sent a man all the way from Prussia who would make a decided difference. Baron Von Steuben was a Captain in the German army who came highly recommended by Ben Franklin. Washington quickly recognized his ability and put him in charge of molding the American volunteers into a real army. With his fervency for drill and precision Von Steuben birthed an army that winter in Valley Forge. Our army had no drill instruction manual, so Von Steuben set about to write one. He would get up at 3 a.m., then be on the instruction field by sun-up. He insisted the men be there too, even in the midst of malnutrition, disease, and dying. We would call that unreasonable today; but in times of crisis often those who have made the greatest difference have been those who threw caution and comfort to the wind and plowed through, no matter what the circumstances. This is leadership, and Von Steuben knew what was required of leaders. These men must be the core unit for all who would later join them. They must set the standard high, then live up to it, if they ever expected to win a war against such odds as they were facing.
Von Steuben’s work paid off. By spring, 1778, the army could march, turn, and move with the best of armies. They could fire their muskets, reload in only 15 seconds, and fire again. Washington and others were convinced Von Steuben had been a gift from heaven. Today there is a statue in Washington, D.C., directly behind the White House, which honors this Prussian drill master who made an army of Washington’s volunteers. We humbly praise God for His provision!
So many elements brought together at just the right time secured our liberty, that the Gospel of Christ might flow freely to the next generation. And while Baron Von Steuben, Lafayette, and many others were used of God to bring it about; behind it all, we see the sublime picture of George Washington kneeling in the snow at Valley Forge, praying earnestly for God’s protection, provision and aid in, what he believed to be, a just cause. Obviously God honored those prayers.
Are you willing to rise to the call of extreme commitment to see that liberty restored in this nation. Do you personally know God’s liberty in Christ?
Think about it; because if you don’t, someone else will do your thinking for you – and for your children! And you won’t like what that brings to you. I’m Don Pinson; this has been Think About It.