Discipline is the soul of an army. It makes small numbers formidable; procures success to the weak, and esteem to all.”
“There is a Destiny which has the control of our actions, not to be resisted by the strongest efforts of Human Nature.”
Maybe I should have written this on Monday for Presidents’ Day. If you get the chance, go back and read some about that terrible winter at Valley Forge. There was no shelter and it was bitterly cold. The first thing that General George Washington did was to set his men to build shelters. Over two thousand soldiers died that winter due to exposure, starvation, and disease. Only a third of the men had shoes, and they literally left bloody footsteps in the snow.
I read a story that really symbolizes the idea that came forth from that terrible winter in Valley Forge. When you think of a forge, what comes to your mind? “The most common definition of the word is ‘to hammer out.’ Our nation got forged here in Valley Forge, where there was a iron forge. When our young Army came out of that winter, it had been forged into something tough and strong as iron. The perseverance they showed that winter forged their will, a will that carried them ultimately to victory.” (John Vermillion).
Perhaps that is what jerks my jaws when I see people so willingly ignorant of the sacrifice of men like those who gave so much. We tend to make excuses for what happens to us, but those men, and others like them in similar dire circumstances, stood the test that nature and the enemy brought to bear against them. The saying is so true, “All Gave Some, Some Gave All.” There are few that now recognize or can relate to that saying.
However, many have faced the forge of a different sort. There is the forge that works on a person’s spirit. The enemy of our soul brings his forces to destroy, and if spirit and soul are not forged into a sort of spiritual steel then it is possible that a person could fall on the wayside. Don’t despair when circumstances, no matter the type, come against you for it may be the Holy Spirit trying “to hammer out” your life.
“By the all-powerful dispensations of Providence, I have been protected beyond all human probability and expectation; for I had four bullets through my coat, and two horses shot under me, yet escaped unhurt, altho’ death was levelling my companions on every side.”
Another thing that gets to me at times are those “historians” out there that desperately and purposely try to destroy the character of those who have gone on before. True, all people have their flaws, but how they deal with them and how they continue to go forward and face life is really more important. There is talk of “fake news” but that is nothing new. With revisionist eyes they look to the past and conjure up things that were not really there.
Men like Washington and Lincoln were not flawless, but they were men who were devoted to seeing their task through. With them it was a sacred trust; a duty that must be faced. These men set their hearts toward the duty that was before them, saw it through despite the difficulties, and ultimately came through victorious.
Instead of looking for defects we should take heart from what they did. We should recognize that victory can often be ours if we dedicate ourselves to finish the course. To maintain, despite defeats, the course that the Lord has before us.
“I have fought the good (worthy, honorable, and noble) fight, I have finished the race, I have kept (firmly held) the faith.”
–2 Timothy 4:7 (AMPC)