If you have ever thought we live in troubled times,
this book may provide some much needed perspective.
1776 is an exemplary book, written by a two time Pulitzer Prize winner.
On September 30th, 1776, George Washington, General of the Continental Army faced a mountain range of distressing situations, while carrying the weight of the would be Nation upon his shoulders. He confided in a letter to his brother, Lund:
"Such is my situation that if I were to wish the bitterest curse to an enemy this side of the grave, I should put him in my stead with my feelings." The General wrote that he was "wearied to death" and "In confidence I tell you that I never was in such an unhappy, divided state since I was born."
- McCullough, p. 227
Washington's words were strikingly similar to the Apostle Paul's in 2 Cor. 1:8-9:
For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death.
Yet the Apostle brings a deep theology of hope to the issue of despairing afflictions: But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.
Great people have trodden
upon paths of deep darkness.
You are not alone in facing dreadful
heartache and the most bitter of circumstances.
Rather, you have joined the ranks of the
myriads who have traveled such broken roads.
The pages of history are full
of the accounts of these travelers.
One day such agonies shall be no more.
The implications from these biographies are astounding.
These books describe massive evils of humanity from fairly recent history, and tell of those who stood against the darkness.
The murderous nazi government, the conjoined evil twins of communism and atheism, and the horrible atrocities of slavery, and the ignorance breeding, controlling, theiving evils of God-less religion (which looks nothing like Jesus), each display a depth of darkness that abides in humanity. These eyewitness accounts each have something important to communicate to us in our day. These seven also testify about the light that overcomes great darkness.
I commend these books to you, your friends, and your family. Invest in knowing history.
There is a unique relationship between faith and obedience.
Obedience does not equal faith, nor is it necessarily evidence of it. The Pharisees proved this to be true.
Yet can faith exist apart from obedience?
The thief on the cross did not have an opportunity to obey, yet he was nailed to a cross. But he believed Jesus was who he said he was. The thief's spiritual eyes were opened to behold the Lamb of God. Had the thief not been nailed to the cross, he would likely have been found among the disciples of Christ, being obedient.
So there may be rare circumstances, deathbed type circumstances, where faith remains alone.
Yet the old saying is true: We are saved by faith in Christ alone, yet faith that saves is never alone.
"Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord' yet do not do what I tell you?" - Jesus (Luke 6:46 ESV)