THE COURAGE TO DO WHAT’S RIGHT ~by Karen A Roth
United States of America celebrates our independence on the 4th of July. Historical writing from that time suggest God’s hand wrought the outcome of the American Revolution. One example is the capture of Fort Ticonderoga (May 10, 1775) without a gunshot. The account echoes Israel’s biblical record of war. Colonel Ethan Allen awakened British Captain Delaplace of Ticonderoga in the middle of the night and ordered his surrender. The astounded captain replied, "By whose authority do you make the demand?" Allen knew that it was the day appointed for the convening of Congress in Philadelphia and replied, "In the Name of Jehovah and the Continental Congress!" Delaplace immediately surrendered.
Another example is on Christmas night in 1776, George Washington, the Commanderin-Chief of the Continental Army led troops across the Delaware River during a blinding snowstorm. The army overwhelmed the enemy in a surprise attack on Trenton. But it could have been disastrous for the Continental Army if it were not for Divine Intervention—the night before, the commander of the army in Trenton was playing a card game when a messenger came with a letter for him. He tucked it into his pocket to read after the game but forgot all about it. The note from a Tory warned him that the Americans were approaching the town. Only 2 Americans died in the battle. It’s one of the most notable conflicts of the Revolution—a turning point of the war. Enlistments quickly increased and everywhere there was a stronger resolve to win independence.
The winter at Valley Forge (December 1777—June 1778) was one of the darkest of the American Revolution. It was a ‘wilderness place’ for the Continentals. In its womb a starving and destitute group of soldiers trained, disciplined, and reorganized. The men were without adequate shelter, food or clothing built crude huts to live in.. Many died of starvation or cold—more than half of them unfit for active service at any given time. But the suffering and hardship forged a mighty army by spring, and sealed their courageous fight for independence with victory at Yorktown. The Congress met the next day. What happened next makes us proud to be an American. They went as a body to a local church and there "returned thanks to Almighty God for crowning the allied armies of the United States and France with victory."
The Spirit of God hovered over the inception of this nation. But independence came at a tremendous cost of life. That generation laid down their lives and fortunes to found a nation with liberty for all. If that liberty is withheld from some—then all our rights are threatened.
= THE REBIRTH OF FREEDOM
On another battlefield about a century later, President Abraham Lincoln spoke a message to a hurting nation that was torn over slavery. His speech seemed more like a prayer. He held the fragile threads of our Founding Father's VISION for this nation in his hands, and desperately hoped to tie the North and South together again as one nation under God. He spoke of a ‘Rebirth of Freedom’ for this nation—entwining the essential strands that gave liberty to all the people.
Abraham Lincoln's primary concern for commemorating a portion of a battlefield for future generations was for remembering our liberty. Sensing the enormity of the crisis that lay before the nation, Lincoln made a decision. Just as men gave their lives and their fortunes to ensure the initial liberty of this nation, men were fighting again to maintain that liberty—that all men are created equal. On that solemn day commemorating the horrendous battle at Gettysburg, they dedicated a portion of land as a memorial for the men who died there. The men did not die in vain if they had the courage to do what was right.
What they fought and died for becomes our inheritance—a platform for us to stand on. If we don’t desire freedom and liberty for all— even the UNBORN, our inheritance is useless and within a generation it can be squandered away.
Every generation pays a price to maintain liberty. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. picked up the chords of “a battle cry for freedom.” Advocating nonviolence, King courageously sang, “We shall overcome.” Through his unwavering efforts our nation passed the Civil Rights Act in 1964. Coretta Scott King wrote that her husband had as an “ultimate goal of healing and regenerating an entire population … to eliminate injustice WITHIN ourselves.”
Dr. King believed that this was just the beginning of greater spiritual freedom as well. “…by reaching into and beyond ourselves and tapping the transcendent MORAL ETHIC OF LOVE, we shall overcome these evils. Love, truth, and the COURAGE TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT should be our own guideposts on this lifelong journey.”
We again face uncertain times. Are we ready to arise and stand in the gap at the end of this age? If men and women courageously do what is right, it may very well be America’s finest hour. Happy 4th of July!