The other day, as I was getting dressed, I looked in the mirror and was again discouraged by the extra poundage my body is relentlessly holding on to. I mentioned to Matt that I would have liked to live back when being “plump” was considered an attractive quality in women.
“No you wouldn’t,” he said, “if you lived back then you would have only been attractive until three years ago, after which you would have died during childbirth.”
Three years ago, had I not followed a prompting from the Lord, Jack would have died, Henry would not exist and Matt would likely be a widower. It’s not often in life when you are given such a moment of clarity and are able to see what your life would have been, but for this one moment. I’m sure there are hundreds of instances in which my decisions have profoundly shaped who I am and what my life consists of, yet in my limited view I can only point to a few specifics; and I have very little vision as to the profound effects of things outside my own small circle of influence.
Chris and Ted Stewart have a greater vision.
I’m a big fan of the Stewart brothers. Chris and Ted Stewart have authored several books that I love. Between the two of them we have The Great and Terrible books (a six book series), Seven Tipping Points that Saved the World, The Mark of a Giant: Seven People who Changed The World (review forthcoming), and Seven Miracles that Saved America. Recently Seven Miracles that Saved America has been adapted for children!
Seven Miracles that Saved America tells us the story of seven events in American history that played a large part in shaping of our country. The seven events are:
- Christopher Columbus and the Discovery of the New World
- The Miracle at Jamestown
- A Summer Fog (during the American Revolution)
- Our Constitution
- Abraham Lincoln and the Battle of Gettysburg
- Midway (during WWII)
- A Fraction of an Inch (Ronald Reagan surviving an assassination attempt).
In the children’s edition each chapter tells the story of the miracle in historical context. Coupled with beautiful illustrations by Ben Sowards, the stories paint a picture of the amazing odds that our country had to fight. One of my favorite stories is the Miracle of the Summer Fog. Shortly after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Washington and his army found themselves cornered while trying to defend New York City. The battle had waged for days when finally one night, under cover of darkness, Washington began to lead his army in retreat across the East River. If the British found out what was going on they were sure to attack, but as the sun rose a deep fog descended. It not only covered the colonial army’s retreat, but also muffled the sound of their boats. As soon as the last boat reached the shore safely, the fog lifted and the American army lived to fight another day. This is just one of countless instances in American history when it seemed as if the hand of Divine Providence reached down and tipped the balance in our favor.
I pull this book out whenever the stories within correspond with whatever we are are studying in history. In the children’s adaptation the stories are short, just a few pages long, and the illustrations are just beautiful. After explaining the historical context and how, but for this one miracle, all would have been lost; we are asked to think about what might have happened if the hand of God did not intervene.
Just like in our own personal lives, there are many more than seven events that shaped our country’s history. The seven that the Stewarts chose span hundreds of years and show us that our freedom will always hang in the balance. We need to educate ourselves, pray for guidance and protection, do what we know is right, and thank God for his help when he intervenes in our behalf. New challenges will come up against us over and over again and it’s up to us to meet them when they come.