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|The Protection of Divine Providence||
Many events throughout history cannot be explained apart from supernatural intervention. God parted the Red Sea for the Israelites as they fled the Egyptian Army. The walls of Jericho fell beneath a supernatural force. Gideon witnessed the destruction of the Midianites without ever raising a single sword. God told Jehoshaphat to "stand still," trust, and "behold the deliverance of God," he watched his enemies rise up and destroy one another.
In David McCullough's current best-seller 1776, the historian points out that without General Washington's divine sensitivity, the United States would've lost the war for independence. Merely 43 years old when he took command, the untested General took command over an unimpressive band of fighting men, many of whom were actually boys as young as 10. Most were fresh off the farm, untrained and undisciplined.
They "ran like rabbits" out of Brooklyn during the war's first major battle. Early on, Fort Washington fell to the British, handing over 3,000 prisoners and all of their food, muskets, cannons and ammunition. Independence looked like an impossible dream.
"They had," wrote McCullough, "almost no chance."
Yet in the end, the freedom fighters beat back their oppressors. Our Founders believed that the role of divine Providence turned the tide of war against the invading armies.
In late August of 1776, the British prepared to crush the independence movement at Brooklyn. But strong northeasterly winds prevented the British fleet from sealing off Washington's retreat and 9,000 men escaped in the dark of night in ragtag boats. As the sun rose, the Brooklyn side of the river remained engulfed in an unusually dense fog, even as the New York side there was no fog at all. One soldier recorded that "in less than an hour after [the escape], the fog having dispersed, the enemy was visible on the shore we had left."
McCullough wrote, "Incredibly, yet again, circumstances -- fate, luck, Providence, the hand of God, as would be said so often -- intervened." He goes on to cite several other instances of such "good fortune."
Virtually all of our founding fathers credited the role of the Creator in our history and publicly praised the intervention of "Almighty Providence." Even Thomas Jefferson, a man of personal religious doubts, had felt obligated to write God boldly into the Declaration of Independence. Obviously, he believed in principles attributed to a Supreme Being and Creative Power. This historic document appeals to "Nature's God," the "Creator," the "Supreme Judge of the world" and "the protection of divine Providence" as the basis for America's right to be independent of Britain.
During World War II, Hitler's Stuka bombers missed their best chance to crush the English armies as they escaped through a heavy fog. Winston Churchill referred to it as the "the miracle of the ages."
The Great Raid, a film that opens on August 12, accurately portrays the most daring and successful POW liberation in American history. A group of 121 Army Rangers, with support from Filipino fighters, overwhelmed thousands of brutal Japanese soldiers in order to rescue 511 survivors of the Bataan Death March. One Army Ranger reflects the sentiment of Bataan chaplain Father Cummings, who told his soldiers, "There are no atheists in foxholes." Before embarking on the raid, he prays and remarks to his fellow Ranger, "We're going to need a little miracle."
I believe that we must have a supernatural help not only to have the character strength necessary to fight this hidden and hideous enemy, but also to have miraculous intervention in the battle. The Psalmist wrote, "the shields of the earth belong unto God." If we are to survive the current wave of terrorism, we're going to need more than "a little miracle." We desperately need shields of Supernatural Power.
The grenade lobbed at President Bush on his recent visit to the former Soviet state of Georgia would likely have not injured the president, but certainly could have killed people in the crowd and shaken the security of world leaders. It was poorly thrown and malfunctioned. The second attack against London's transportation system unexplainably failed. Thank God!
Former New York City major Rudy Giuliani found himself once again the near victim of a terrorist attack as he traveled the streets of London. He commented in a cable news interview that "discernment" is needed to prevent some attacks. He referred to an officer who discerned the character and intent of an attacker and prevented another serious incident in New York City. He repeated the need for "discernment" several times. Thank you Mr. Mayor -- you are right concerning this much-needed insight.
It is critical that we learn to discern people's character. We must have unexplainable intervention by the Almighty in order to abort our enemies' efforts and diffuse the evil intent that drives these murderous men. The Old Testament refers to God as "a mighty fortress," "a shelter from the storm," and "an impregnable rock." It is not enough to have "In God We Trust" inscribed on our coins. We must have divine discernment inscribed on our hearts so that we may continue to experience, protect and share the blessings of freedom.