To understand God’s involvement in history, you have to stand back and look at the big picture.
It’s a matter of perspective.
I love history. That’s probably why I like to write historical fiction. What I like most is to see God’s presence in the midst of man’s accomplishments. God wasn’t intricately involved in just the history of the Jews or first century Christians. He has had reign over the rise and fall of nations since the beginning of time to the present. If you study closely the history of early America, you can see His hand guiding our founding fathers to create a nation based on religious freedom.
So said my husband in his sermon this past Sunday. As an illustration, Jack told the famous story of General Washington crossing the Delaware.
According to Jack’s source, the famous historian, David McCollough, Washington planned an attack on the Hessian troops defending Trenton, NJ on the night of December 24, 1776. To get there meant a daring attack at dawn, crossing his army at three places on the Delaware River. A strong Nor-easter prevented the other two crossings, Only the 2400 men accompanying Washington made it across safely.
The bad storm delayed the attack three hours, jeopardizing the crucial element of surprise against the Hessian mercenaries. Risking everything, Washington pressed his attack at eight the next morning. Against all odds, their surprise was complete. Vicious fighting ensued for 45 minutes. Yet, there were no Americans killed and only 4 wounded against 21 Hessians fatalities and 90 casualties. 500 Hessians escaped but 900 were captured. With the guiding hand of the Lord Almighty, Washington’s attack, against all odds, was a success.
That’s the final outcome of the story. Yet, think about it. If you were a soldier in one of the other two groups, how would you have recorded the events of that night? There were no television cameras, no cell phones, no communication of any kind. The other two groups would have been clueless about Washington’s success until hours, days, even months later. Individual soldiers in the other two groups would have probably seen that night as a failure. They would have recorded in their journals how cold and miserable they were. They may have been tempted to even think God didn’t care about them and their efforts to fight for religious freedom were futile.
All the while, God was doing an amazing thing that would be recorded in history as a resounding, amazing, even miraculous success.
We are the perspective of one person. More often than not, we are not privileged to see the big picture, to know the end result, to be aware of how our efforts were a small but important part of God’s overall plan. We may see it later as others tell us of the end result. We may never be aware of God’s overall shaping of history this side of heaven. I’m ashamed to say that my limited perspective has tempted me to think God isn’t doing anything, God doesn’t care, or God doesn’t hear my pleas for help.
And all the while, God is making something amazing happen.
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” – Hebrews 11:1.
Whether we see Him or not – God is at work. God is using you, your faith, your witness, your service, your effort as part of His big glorious plan that – have no doubt about it – will be successful.
Keep the faith.