Valley Forge—the crucible of freedom
As we near our nation’s Independence Day celebration, it is important for us to remember the price that was paid by so many, for the freedoms we experience today. For an example of suffering together, Americans need not look any further than the “crucible of freedom,” as it was called. The horrors encountered by the colonial Continental Army in Valley Forge, during the rugged New England winter of 1777-78, speak volumes to us today. It is one of the greatest examples of extreme difficulties endured by those who fought and died for our nation’s independence.
The British sat comfortably by their firesides sipping brandy after dinner, while disease and exposure took one in four Americans’ lives. There were men who were literally naked, with nothing to wrap around themselves. Many had their blackened feet and legs amputated. General George Washington said that their marches could be traced by the blood of their bare feet in the snow. The amazing thing of Valley Forge is that they stayed—considering the extreme circumstances they went through. An army was forged out of the suffering endured by its soldiers. They came through as one unit, committed to stay the course until the job was done.
God’s people today must have the same resolve to endure the coming hardships that lay before us. What difficulties will it take for us to truly come together as one? As Christians, we must look back at their nightmarish ordeal, remembering the cost they paid as they stood firm until the end. From the Pilgrims on, many have suffered for this nation’s freedom. They understood the call from the Lord to continue the work and establishment of an outward expression of the Kingdom of God for others to observe. For the most part, we have forgotten that call, choosing instead to live out our lives for our own self-preservation and comfort.
The fullest expression of the Kingdom of God will soon be ushered onto this earth by the covenanted, committed soldiers of the Lord Jesus Christ. Many are now in training, being sifted by the Lord in preparation of what is coming next. With His help and empowerment we will be victorious, but through very difficult circumstances. The church in America is presently being confronted by the Lord to make a crucial decision that will affect all who live under our constitution. The immediate question is, “Who will you deny, yourself or the Lord?” Will we act by faith upon the revealed will of the Lord to begin to not just say we are Christians, but prove it by the way we live out our lives as those in covenant with God and, therefore, one another?
The continuation and fulfillment of the covenant promises given to our forefathers by God, in this nation, for its inhabitants, are dependent upon His children’s response. The decisions we make today determine the direction we will take tomorrow. As a nation that has waded deep into depravity, may God have mercy, granting us a spirit of repentance for His name’s sake.