“As nothing but necessity obliged me to retire before the Enemy, I conceive it my duty, and it corresponds with my Inclination, to make head against them so long as there shall be the least probability of doing it with propriety.” ~ George Washington (on attacking the British at Trenton, 1776)
“Washington recognized that the entire movement for American independence was on the verge of extinction and might very well expire on its own over the winter…the result took the form of a surprise attack, on Christmas night, across the ice-choked Delaware River…Washington’s plan for the attack on Trenton, like most of his tactical schemes, was excessively intricate…Three of the four American units never made it across the river, confronting Washington with the decision to proceed with questionable resources or abandon the attack. He chose to run the risk, figuring that the American cause was so desperate that boldness ran fewer risks than caution. It was an all-or-nothing wager, and he won it.” (Joseph J. Ellis, His Excellency: George Washington, 2005)
On the opposite side of the river, General Washington was at a crossroads. As was the custom of warfare in that day not to fight during the winter time. He had a decision to make. Use the dark of night, winter, and Christmas to surprise the British forces on the other side of the river, or don’t. As we learn from history, we know what course he took. If he had decided not to attack, I might be sitting here typing this in a British accent (that was a joke). Yet the General did not come to this conclusion quickly. It was calculated and precise, down to the last detail. This is how Washington operated. Thomas Jefferson once said of him, “Perhaps, the strongest feature in Washington’s character was prudence, never acting until every circumstance, every consideration, was maturely weighed; refraining if he saw a doubt, but, when once decided, going through with his purpose, whatever obstacles opposed.” As it would turn out, the Americans defeated the British at both Trenton and Princeton because of Washington’s decision.
Every man will stand at the crossroads at some point in his life. Some will do it every day. We all have to make decisions that will affect not only our life, but the lives of those around us. So how do you face your obstacles? What goes through your mind prior to making important decisions?
“I must follow my Lord. No matter what. I must renew my allegiance every morning. It is His voice I must listen to, not the voices of those around me, however strident, however persuasive. It is His Word that must govern my life, not the words of others. God Himself has written a Book (think of it!) that must be the authority in my life.” ~ Stu Weber
As a Christian in this world, we will constantly face the proverbial “fork in the road”. Culture and Society will always be whispering in your ear to go down the easy path. The path that is littered with self-help, immediate gratification, and pride. The other, not so much. This road is, as Mr. Frost put it, “the one less traveled”. It’s the way that is narrow, difficult, full of temptation, and without God’s grace, you will never finish. Yet it’s the road that leads to eternal glory. God never promised us that life would be easy. In fact, He promises us persecution, strife, and hatred. Matthew 5:10-12 is very clear about this (also see Mark 13:13 and John 15:18):
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
So when you are at a crossroads in your own life, there should only be one question that pops in to your mind. “Do I live for the Lord, or for man?” When you are tempted by societies pressures, what will you do? Will you stand strong in faith or crumble under the pressure of sin? Will you run headstrong in to the most hazardous of conditions knowing you have God on your side? Or will you cower in fear because of possible persecution or mocking?
“The question remains, as it will always remain, one of ultimate authority. Who are you going to follow in your life? Who will command your allegiance? Christ…or culture? You really can’t have it both ways.” ~ Stu Weber
I can’t, and will not even attempt to answer these questions for you. You are you (I know, pretty deep)! You have to learn to hear God’s voice in your life. You have to discern the Holy Spirit’s guidance versus your own self-seeking desires. I’ll end with Mr. Weber’s perspective, and one I’m currently learning to depend on:
“Did we receive Him into our lives as ‘just one more guiding voice,’ or as Lord? Are we ready to follow Him, even when He leads us directly across the grain of our culture?”
You’re at your own crossroads. What are you going to do? As the patriots followed their General across the frozen Delaware in to unknowable circumstances, are you ready to follow your King?
God bless you! Rak Chazak!
*Stu Weber quotes taken from his book Four Pillars of a Man’s Heart.