Crossing “The Delawares” Of Our Lives


A few years ago my brother, father and I, visited the reported spot of ground where George Washington and his army crossed the Delaware River at the outset of the Revolutionary War. This historical event is made famous by a painting that portrays General Washington standing majestically at the bow, as his small boat makes its way across the semi-frozen river. It was a pivotal moment in the history of our nation. In a logistically challenging and dangerous operation, the Continental Army crossed the river on Christmas night in 1776. In extreme weather conditions they crossed and were able to surprise Hessian forces, (allies of England), in Trenton, New Jersey, where they defeated and captured over 1000 enemy troops. Up until that point in the war, the Continental Army had been on the run after being defeated at every turn. With morale at an all-time low, Washington went against traditional wisdom and instead of continuing a retreat, turned and attracted his surprised pursuers. While the surprise attack itself did minimal damage to the “Redcoat” army, the moral victory infused his troops, and the Colonials, with confidence that would carry them for years to come. Years that eventually culminated in independence for our country.

This life is full of small personal battles that each of us deal with on a daily basis. Most of them are small “skirmishes” but when added up tend to drag our spirits down. The car breaks down, the washing machine needs repair, we get a speeding ticket (always undeserved in our minds), or someone in the family is sick. A bill is overdue, the dog messes in the house, or a store clerk sells us the wrong item. Of major annoyance is getting your fast food order filled incorrectly but you don’t discover it till you get home. The daily battles in life can be exhausting at times. Sometimes we are left to lament, “Why can’t I catch a break!” I recall that as a younger man, I seemed to be fighting a daily battle over some perceived “injustice” that was in my life. Sometimes it really was injustice but retrospectively, more times than not, it was just life.  I noticed that after a few years of small “skirmishes” that I began to let go of things that were just not that important. Holding on to so much baggage was affecting my morale. And morale is very important in fighting, not only the mundane issues of this life, but the more important issues of the  eternities.

As we all have to “traverse” the temporal in this life, let us not let ourselves become discouraged. The temporal really does have an effect on our spiritual welfare.  If this life has us on the run, let us turn about, like the Continental Army, and face our challenges one battle at a time. Small victories can culminate in winning the war. Setting short-term goals, and then accomplishing them, can do wonders for our souls. A small victory could be refraining from breaking some commandment that we are struggling with for a day, or week.  We are taught to read in the scriptures and pray daily. If we are struggling to do that, perhaps setting a goal of reading and praying for just one week is the best approach. Most of us can accomplish that. Not only will we gain the blessings that naturally come with doing it, we will also feel our hearts rejoice as we accomplish our goal.I really do believe that there is power gained by opening the scriptures on a daily basis.  In so doing we acknowledge the hand of God in our lives.

Some of us face major battles in life each day due to health, financial, or strained families relationships that will not soon go away.   Others face small skirmishes that slowly beat down their souls.  A few of us are in respite, but rest only to fight another day. All of us are battling with changes that need to be made in our private lives. Let us summon the courage to stop running from them. Let us gird up our loins and stop retreating! Let today be the day we turn and cross our private “Delaware”. By so doing our hearts and spirits will be lifted towards victory over our foes!



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