The Light and the Glory
In 1492, Columbus set sail for what he thought would be India. Little did he know that on that journey he would discover a whole new land –a land for which God had a very special plan.
Columbus faced many problems on his voyage: no money, no sponsors, and a grumbling crew. Several times he almost gave up or was forced to turn around, but he did not because he trusted God with his life. It could only be God’s plan that the first person to step onto the shore of the Americas was a man who was devoted to serving God with all his heart and spreading the gospel into unreached lands. This is exactly what Columbus did.
After this, frightening stories started to circulate throughout Europe, and ot became harder and harder to raise interest in an expedition to America. The only people who would come were the religiously oppressed Pilgrims. They decided it was God’s will for them to sail to America. They knew it would be very hard, but they were willing to do it without complaining so that they could worship God freely. They only survived by the remarkable, God-given leadership and dedication of such Pilgrims as William Bradford, William Brewster, Myles Standish, and Edward Winslow. These men were unselfishly trying to serve God; the others followed their example and the whole colony grew in unity with Christ and each other. They knew the only way they would survive was if they depended wholly on God and put their trust in Him alone.
The next group of people who came to America were the Puritans. They, even more than the Pilgrims, made possible America’s foundations as a Christian nation. They were so committed to obeying God and creating an entirely new society based on Christian principles that they fought earnestly through every hardship they encountered. They had very strict laws to keep their colony in order; most offenses ended in a hanging. Their extreme devotion carried down generations, though it did dim a little, and greatly influenced the founding fathers and their ideas of what government should look like.
During the Great Awakening was when “one nation under God” first came to mind. It was the first time people thought of creating a whole new nation. A nation, apart from Great Britain, that would be grounded on Christian principles and governed by godly men. Thankfully, the founding fathers knew any attempt at a democracy that did not include the Almighty would fall into utter ruin and chaos. They believed in liberty, equality, and brotherhood; but they also understood that these were given by God and must be preserved and protected to whatever end. These are the beginnings of the American Revolution. It was during this time that the colonists started to think of themselves as separate from England. They didn’t mind being English citizens, when it was convenient for them, but nearly all of them had never even been to England and felt no loyalty to it. The colonists were becoming increasingly independent of Great Britain, so that, by the time the Revolution began, they could survive without any aid from their mother country. This laid the groundwork for the bloody war that was soon to happen.
George III raised taxes significantly and greatly angered the Americans. The tension continued to mount until it finally snapped at the Boston Massacre. After this incident there was no stopping the Patriots –the war was inevitable. God used the brilliance of the founding fathers and generals to unite the colonies and lead them through the long, hard war. They believed resistance to tyranny was a Christian duty because they were defending God-given rights. Such men as Patrick Henry, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin established the firm foundations of the soon-to-be country; they made sure it was steadfastly planted in the Word of God. These great, God-fearing men were put in just the right place at just the right time by the hand of God. God had a plan for America –it was to be a nation that promoted freedom, equality, and God!