And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.
-- 1 John 4:14
Meteorologists say that this summer was one of the coolest in recent memory. And with a volcano threatening to erupt in Iceland and spew sun-darkening ash into the atmosphere, some experts are predicting one of the coldest winters ever in Great Britain.
If that happens, the temperatures still might not compare to the brutally cold conditions endured in December 1777. They're what General George Washington's Continental Army faced as it set up camp in Valley Forge, PA, after a year of fighting the British during the Revolutionary War.
The situation was grim for the 12,000-man rag-tag force. What's more, Washington was under attack by members of Congress, who criticized his strategic choices and lack of success on the battlefield. Some even advocated his removal from command. With food, clothing and ammunition in extremely short supply, Washington wrote, "that unless some great and capital change suddenly takes place...this Army must inevitably...starve, dissolve, or disperse..."
And a great change would indeed take place. According to the eyewitness testimony of a Valley Forge resident, Washington was alone and on his knees in prayer in the woods. The tired general called aloud for God's help--and not just with his army's dire plight--but also for all of humanity and the world. The witness recalled that he was astonished at the power and earnestness of Washington's petition.
"We never thought a man could be a soldier and a Christian," he said. "But if there is one in the world, it is Washington."
The rest, as they say, is history. In the darkness of Christmas night, Washington and his army crossed the ice-choked Delaware River to defeat the Hessian mercenary soldiers hired by the British. The news of the Americans' surprise victory spread quickly and revived the fading war effort.
Although he didn't know it at the time, the eyes of a nation were on George Washington that snowy evening in the woods of eastern Pennsylvania. He hadn't sought an audience--except for One. But his sincere and humble prayer testified volumes about his fervent faith in his Creator's ability to protect and to save.
How about you and me? As Christ-followers, the world is watching us, too. Do our words and deeds each day testify to our faith in God's abilities to change the world? When we practice what we preach, it's faith in action that honors God. And when we seek to honor God, He seeks to honor us.