Tuesday, November 20, 2018

A Day When God Stepped In To Help America


I found myself in a debate with someone on Facebook recently. While that doesn't surprise too many who know me and how I feel about celebrating the goodness of America, or my defense of Conservatism. It may surprise you that our debate was about God and America.

While I pointed out how Christian values have always been part and parcel of our nation, I have to admit that I was sort of surprised that he really believed, as he stated, "God has never helped America. That is if God really exists."

It was at that point that I laughed out loud. And friends, if there's one thing that pseudo-intellectual Atheists hate, it's someone laughing at their one-liners. 

He became angry when I laughed, so much so that he then said that my believing in God shows how uneducated I am. He then went on to quote one of his professors who said, "A belief in God shows how uneducated a person is. An education will lead people to be less dependent on God."

I told him that I'm not dependent on God. In fact, I'm hoping to lead such a life that God can depend on me. 

While guys such as this man like to say God doesn't exist, my argument is that God allows us free will with the hopes that we do the right things, with the hope that we show good intentions toward our fellow man and woman, that we demonstrate an ability to persevere, that we show a desire to get off our ass and work for what we want, that we defend ourselves and those we love, that we care for others, show compassion, be just, and stay on the straight and narrow with the Lord.

I've met God at sea on nights when I missed home, in horrible summer heat trying to ink out a living in construction, in thick brush while trying to ferret out cattle on gatherings, while mending fences and treating a coliced horse, as well as when sitting on the tops of mountains on trail rides. I've been inspired when least expected and comforted when needed. 

OK, so I did let it go on too long. But really, this guy was really full of himself. He didn't like America, our flag, our laws, our culture, and the fact that almost 8 out of every 10 Americans are Christians of some denomination. He then asked me to show him proof of God and where God has ever helped America?

My reply, "Do you want big or small examples?"

He said, "Pick one time when it was obvious that God helped the United States of America." 

I said I would. Of course I was going to say "God has given us Donald Trump" just because I knew it would've made his head explode. But I didn't, even though I believe that's the case. 

Instead, I told him that for me, I've seen God's helping hand here and there over my more than 60 years. When I was a youngster, I remember my grandfather preparing me to not lose faith because a foal was dying. That night, out of the blue, it made an unexplained 180 degree turn for the better when it wasn't supposed to make it through the night. 

While overseas as a young Marine, I saw people flee for their lives with only what they could carry on their backs during the Fall of Saigon in 1975. Just as I feel that God helped that foal make that 180 degree turn around, I believe that those who made the effort to flee Vietnam were helped by God in their efforts to escape murderous Communism. Ten years later in 1985, it was reported that Communist killed 2.5 million South Vietnamese in their "Re-Education Camps". 

For me, I remember very well a situation that took place one night when a man in Oakland shot someone and then turned his gun on me. I lived because his gun jammed. Some say I was lucky. I say, God was looking after me.

As for helping us in history, we know that on the Trail of Tears that thousands of Native Americans died along the way. Fact is, so did the Black slaves which they owned. Yes, slaves that they took with them on their way West. But, the majority made it. Yes, what could have been worse didn't happen. We can thank God for his help that not all were lost during that horrible march across the nation.

We know that of the American pioneers who came West, thousands died along the way and two thirds of the homesteaders couldn't make it and returned East. We know that a faith in God helped strengthen most and gave faith to those in need of inspiration to help them through the hard times.

We know that 47 members of the Donner Party survived that horrible ordeal. Not all died after they left Springfield, Illinois, on that 2500 mile journey to California. Actually just over half of their party died after fighting 22 feet of snow and starvation in a situation where cannibalism was reported to have taken place. I've always found it interesting that people say those who survived such a tragedy "were lucky," instead of saying they "were helped by God." 

We know that there were people with tuberculosis who died and didn't live full lives in the Old West, as such was the case of Doc Holliday. But the fact is that others did live long lives with TB back in the day. 

A great example of that was John B. Stetson who invented the Cowboy hat. He was diagnosed with tuberculosis at a young age and doctors told him that he wouldn't have long to live. He went West and made his mark inventing the Cowboy hat, and in the process created a business that employed thousands of Americans.

John B. Stetson is known for providing a clean and safe work environment, and a hospital and homes for his over 5,000 employees. He did that while giving back to his community by donating his money to charitable organizations, building schools and colleges. Unlike others who died early from tuberculosis, he lived to be 75 years of age. I believe God had a reason to keep him around.

Atheists may refuse to accept the possibility that God helped America by keeping John B. Stetson alive to help Americans live better lives, but I don't. I believe that God uses some folks as tools to help others. I believe that Abraham Lincoln was God's gift to us. He was God's way of helping save the nation and recover from the horrors of the Civil War. I believe Franklin D. Roosevelt was God's way of helping America have strength during the Great Depression and be victorious during World War II. It was purely providence that they were our presidents at that time in our history.  

God has helped America by giving us people who have turned deserts into flourishing farms, people who have built dams and railroads and highways, just as he gave us people who penned a Constitution the likes of which is the envy of the rest of the world. It was with God's help that we broke away from the greatest military power of it's day. It was with God's help that we have grown stronger and better. It's with God's help that we'll become even better than we are.   

While these are just a few instances of when God has put people in the right place to help America, over the years, we have had God's help to weather hard times and trials, tests, and our ability to prevail. 

While there are most likely many other days when the Lord has stepped in to act, this next story is about a day when God took a hand to help the United States directly. Yes, when God decided to help America in a more direct manner. 

During the War of 1812, the Battle of Bladensburg was fought on August 24, 1814. Bladensburg is only 8 and a half miles northeast of Washington. Today, that battle is called "the greatest disgrace ever dealt to American arms."

The American forces included U.S. Army regulars, U.S. Navy sailors, U.S. Marines, and state militia troops. American Sailors from Washington's Navy Yard were pressed into service at Bladensburg to help stop the British forces marching on Washington. So was a volunteer militia rifle company of civilian workers from the Washington Navy Yard which organized in 1813. Those volunteers were designated the "Navy Yard Rifles" and joined in the fight. They effectively used rifle fire, artillery, and fought hand-to-hand with cutlasses and pikes against the British regulars, but were no match for the better armed British forces who overwhelmed the American defenders with superior numbers. 

As soon as the word reached Washington that the defenses had failed and the British defeated American forces at the Battle of Bladensburg, President James Madison and officials of the U.S. government picked up and fled the city. The president and the rest of the government were one step ahead of being captured by the British when they left the city and took refuge for the night in the small town of Brookeville. The town of Brookeville, which is in Montgomery County, Maryland, is about 20 miles due North of Washington, D.C.. 

After a force of British Army regulars and British Royal Marines completely routed a combined force of U.S. Army regulars, U.S. Marines, Sailors, and state militia troops at Bladensburg, Maryland, the British marched into Washington.

When the British invaded Washington, the British sacked the city and burned down its buildings. The British forces with order to "lay waste to the city" set fire to our capital.

They actually burned down the White House, and a lot of other government buildings including the Capitol, the Senate and the House of Representatives, the Treasury, War Office, and the Arsenal building. As for the Washington Navy Yard, since smoke from the burning Capitol was seen, the American defenders at the shipyard realizing that weapons, ships, and stores, were all prizes that the British wanted. So yes, the yard was ordered set afire to prevent its capture by the enemy.

Its flames could be seen for miles. Then God stepped in. 

Less than a day after the sacking of Washington D.C. began, out of nowhere a sudden hard hitting thunderstorm came about. That storm has been described as devastating, a storm with instant hurricane conditions. Along with the torrential rain, a tornado was witnessed as passing through the center of the capital before setting down on Constitution Avenue. The tornado is said to have lifted at least two cannons and gun carriages, then dropping both of them several yards away. In the process killing British troops. 

The British, who were not fairing well against the storm, retreated from the city. They returned to their ships which were battered and badly damaged in the instantaneous hurricane.

The deluge of rain put out the fires. That ended the British occupation of Washington. It only lasted about 26 hours. The storm was soon called the "Storm that saved Washington." After the storm passed, Americans returned to the city.

While there are those who would debate the effect of this storm on the occupation, one simply cannot disregard the fact that the storm which appeared out of nowhere forced the British to retreat from Washington. Fact is, it was a storm without explanation other then there being a part of divine intervention. 

So you too can now tell someone about the time that God rolled up his sleeves and said he'd do this one himself. It was the day God saved Washington D.C. from complete destruction. And while there are other days when God's helped us all, when his blessings have been given to our great and kind nation, on that day back in 1814 God saved our nation's capital. 

And that's how I see it.

Tom Correa