A Reluctant Leader

As I listened to fireworks last night in pre-celebration, I was reminded of a picture I came across whilst scrolling through Pinterest one day. It was of a woman in service camo, holding her ears against the noise and standing in an empty area. The caption read: “A war veteran hides from a fireworks show [because] PTSD [is] not about what’s wrong with you, it’s about what happened to you”. So, before we begin, I’d like to thank all who have and are fighting for our country. You are inspirational and brave; may God protect and guide your every step.

The fourth of July, a day celebrated in remembrance of our victory against England to become an independent nation. To obtain that victory, our ancestors had to fight in the Revolutionary War and from that we also gained our first president. Washington wasn’t like any other commanding officer of the military. Most of the generals on the battlefield had the best tents, ate the best food, and had the best protection against cold or rain while their troops slogged it in the mud, rationed meager meals, and used rags as blankets as they huddled around a campfire. Washington, however, endured along with his troops in the muck and cold. While others commanded from the back of group and watched from afar, Washington fought alongside his frontline men.

It was because of his actions — not putting himself above his troops, but caring for them as the human beings they were — that gained Washington much respect amongst the people. When the time came for a president to be selected, it was also announced there would be taxes to pay, something the people had just fought a war to get away from that was forced upon them by the English. The people threatened to riot and some of the Convention feared another fight would break out. Washington stepped up to take control of the situation and, after speaking, got the people to accept the taxes. For president, though, the people of the new nation only wanted Washington. Even though he would’ve rather returned to his home in Virginia and live a peaceful remainder of his life after the war, he took on the role to keep the peace.

“For myself, the delay may be compared to a reprieve; for in confidence I can assure you – with the world it would obtain little credit – that my movements to the chair of Government will be accompanied with feelings not unlike those of a culprit who is going to the place of his execution; so unwilling am I, in the evening of a life nearly consumed in public cares to quit a peaceful abode for an Ocean of difficulties, without that competency of political skill which is necessary to manage the helm. I am sensible, that I am embarking the voice of my Countrymen and a good name of my own, on this voyage, but what returns will be made for them – Heaven alone can foretell.”

George Washington to General Henry Knox
Letter dated April 1789 (ap.gilderlehrman.org)

While Washington was reluctant to lead the people, he still did what needed to be done. He knew if he didn’t, everything they had just fought for would have been for not. He hadn’t come this far just to have the new nation give up the peace and freedom they had won. Thus, he put himself aside and stepped up to the plate. He encouraged, inspired, aided in establishment, and gave voice to many before finally being rewarded with that peaceful retirement he so longed for.

The beauty of all this is George Washington loved the Lord deeply. I picture him tired and weary, sitting by a hearth at night with a concentrated look on his face, as — deep in thought — he contemplated his response when he realized the people would want him to take the presidency. He so much wanted to reside in the peacefulness of his home, but instead he asked himself what would his Lord do if He was in his place.

And what would Jesus do? Let’s see…

While most kings remain on their thrones and view their kingdom’s sufferings from afar, Jesus went amongst His people to heal, speak, and care for them.

“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sigh and followed Jesus along the road.”

Mark 10:51-52

When He didn’t have to, Jesus went through persecution before his disciples did.

“The men who were guarding Jesus began mocking and beating him. They blindfolded him and demanded, “Prophesy! Who hit you?” And they said many other insulting things to him.”

Luke 22:63-65

Although He was the King of kings, Lord of lords, and Savior of all, He still wades through the muck and cold with us.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:9

Jesus felt the weight of sin baring down on Him and He desired to be rid of it. Instead, though, He prayed that God the Father’s will be done and not His own.

“He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.”

Luke 22:41-44

Jesus knew ahead of time what He would have to face and the price He would have to pay to save us. Yet, as our true shepherd, He did what He knew was right anyways.

“From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”

Matthew 16:21

Knowing all this, Washington understood the decision he had to make. If he was to strive to be like his Lord, he needed to lay down his own desires and do what was right no matter the cost. Putting the people’s needs ahead of his own, Washington became the first and one of the best presidents our country has ever had.

Washington was by no means perfect. He lost several of the battles he fought in, and I’m sure with some deeper research one might find at least one mistake he made during his presidency. Thankfully, though, he had a perfect Savior guiding his steps and watching over him wherever he went. If you’re reading this, you can have Jesus as your perfect Savior, too. All you must do is pray admitting your a sinner (for we all are, we imperfect people), that you believe Jesus died for you and God rose Him from the grave, and confess that Jesus is your Savior, opening your heart to Him. Jesus is right next to you, waiting for you to notice Him so He can show you how much He loves you.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I pray everyone has a safe and joyful 4th. Let freedom ring and the colors burst forth across the sky!

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