GEORGE WASHINGTON

Earlier I had noted while describing the background to my book Rotor that my hang gliding instructor who had “landed on top”, who also was an avid Christian, died while night flying into a power line and was brought back to life by his fall to the ground after the burning remains of his kite could no longer support him in the wires. Truth be told, I don’t think that he could have died permanently at that time even if he wanted to; God simply had other plans for him. This man reminds me of George Washington, another person who cheated death against formidable odds.

When I was in school, George Washington was still presented to us not only as the father of our country, but as a shining example of nobility. That was when nobility (selfless courage) was considered to be our most treasured and sought-after personal objective. Many years after that, I had read and was greatly impressed by the book The Light and the Glory, written by Peter Marshall and David Manuel and first published in 1977. The book sought to show how the birth of our nation was influenced by the Hand of God, which quite evidently rested upon the person of George Washington.

As a young officer in the Virginia Militia many years prior to the battle for American independence, Washington fought in the French and Indian Wars. The battles in which he engaged included the Battle of the Monongahela in July of 1755. The authors relate an incident associated with that battle that occurred several years after a temporary peace came back to the land:

“Fifteen years after this battle, Washington and his life-long friend Dr. Craik were exploring wilderness territory in the Western Reserve. Near the junction of the Kanawha and Ohio Rivers, a band of Indians came to them with an interpreter. The leader of the band was an old and venerable chief, who wished to have words with Washington. A council fire was kindled, and this is what the chief said: ‘I am a chief and ruler over my tribes. My influence extends to the waters of the great lakes, and to the far blue mountains. I have traveled a long and weary path, that I might see the young warrior of the great battle. It was on the day when the white man’s blood mixed with the streams of our forest, that I first beheld this chief. I called to my young men and said, “Mark yon tall and daring warrior? He is not of the red-coat tribe – he hath an Indian’s wisdom, and his warriors fight as we do – himself alone is exposed. Quick let your aim be certain, and he dies.” Our rifles were leveled, rifles which, but for him, knew not how to miss.. . .Twas all in vain; a power mightier far than we shielded him from harm. He cannot die in battle. I am old, and soon shall be gathered to the great council fire of my fathers in the land of shades, but ere I go, there is something that bids me speak in the voice of prophecy: Listen! The Great Spirit protects that man, and guides his destinies – he will become the chief of nations, and a people yet unborn will hail him as the founder of a mighty empire.’”

“Confirmation of this episode can be found in Bancroft’s definitive nineteenth-century history of the United States. At that same battle, according to other sources, as well as Washington’s journal, the twenty-three-year-old colonel had two horses shot out from under him and four musket balls pass through his coat. There was nothing wrong with the Indians’ marksmanship!”

One cannot be dogmatic when attempting to explain why God would single out certain people like Moses, or King David of Israel, or George Washington of America upon whom to extend His protective Hand. However, this much is known of Washington: he was a person of uncommon qualities, among them being his earnest faith in God. When Washington was a young man, he kept a notebook in which he would write prayers. According to the authors,

“All of them were written in his own hand, and he titled the little book Daily Sacrifice. The first entry was subtitled Sunday Morning, and contained these words: ‘Let my heart, therefore, gracious God, be so affected with the glory and majesty of (Thine honor) that I may not do mine own works, but wait on Thee, and discharge those weighty duties which Thou requirest of me. . .’

“In Monday Morning’s entry, young Washington had written: ‘Direct my thoughts, words and work, wash away my sins in the immaculate Blood of the Lamb, and purge my heart by Thy Holy Spirit. . .daily frame me more and more into the likeness of Thy Son Jesus Christ.’”

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