In my distress I called to the Lord,
and he answered me.
Things were looking very grim. It was August 29; the ink was barely dry on the Declaration of Independence, and the Continental Army was already facing a loss that would quickly lead to the end of the war. They had been severely beaten in the Battle of Long Island, and now the remaining army was trapped with no way out, save for crossing the East River. Only 8,000 troops were left to fend off 32,000 British troops, and General George Washington knew those numbers would quickly lead to a British victory.
For two days, the British held off, oddly choosing not to press in and finish off the colonists. During those two days, General Washington prepared for a possible escape across the river in rowboats, though any such flight would be dangerous, and would have to be accomplished in secret. If the British suspected the Americans were escaping, they would certainly rush in to stop it and would try to intercept the boats, too.
General Washington also did one more thing. As was his habit, he retreated to his tent and prayed. He asked the Lord for guidance, and he asked Him to help his troops and his new country. At 8 p.m. on August 29, 1776, the answer to his prayer seemed to arrive. Heavy winds and rain had swept onto Long Island, and the storm gave him perfect cover to start sending boats, filled with soldiers, across the river. By 11 p.m., the storm died down, but the night was completely dark, so the retreat continued unhindered.
While this was taking place, a British sympathizer on the island saw the evacuation and wrote a note telling the British about the secret operation. The note was sent toward the British lines, but Hessians (German mercenaries fighting for the British) intercepted the note and held onto it because their English was very poor and they simply didn’t understand what it said. As the sun started to rise, there were still many troops left on the island, and another miracle happened. A thick fog blanketed the East River, so thick that it was hard to even see a few feet away.
At long last, the fog began to lift, and the wayward note finally got into British hands. Realizing what was at stake, British scouts moved onto the Island to see if the note was true. They found no soldiers remaining; the last one left on the island had been General Washington, and he was on the last of the rowboats moving safely across the river.
When faced with impossible odds, George Washington knew where to turn – to his maker, the Lord God Almighty. He clearly trusted Psalm 120:1 – “In my distress I called to the Lord and he answered me.” That miracle alone is credited with helping to save the Continental Army and giving it a chance to defeat the British.
When you are faced with your biggest challenges, where do you turn? Do you try to solve all of your problems by yourself, or do you drop to your knees and seek wisdom and guidance from your Maker? This week, let God have control of your problems. Before you try to fix things yourself, pray for His wisdom on what you should do, and pay close attention to where He leads you.
Reflection copyright © 2017 Doug DeBolt.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.