By Chaplain (Maj.) Joshua A. Metz
Special to GUIDON
The reading for this week, Psalm 124, recounts how the Lord saved his people from military disaster. Moreover, the Psalms’ heading attributes the work to King David, who was no stranger to military operations. Time and time again, as David trusted in the Lord, the Lord saved him from what appeared to be a hopeless situation: whether as an unarmored shepherd boy facing down the Philistine champion Goliath or as the anointed king facing down hostile surrounding nations.
Though distant from us in time and space, our own American history shares an important touchpoint with this story in that our forefathers appealed to the very same God.
Our history is replete with examples of not only appealing to the Almighty in times of great trial, but also pausing to give thanks for deliverance from these trials. Here, one example from each century suffices.
In our nation’s great struggle for liberty, no less a person than George Washington proclaimed “a day of public thanksgiving and prayer,” partially in thanks for “the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war.”
During our nation’s bloody civil war, which sought to justly extend liberty to all its citizens, Abraham Lincoln similarly proclaimed a “day for national prayer and humiliation” seeking “to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.”
Finally, as our nation sought to preserve liberty abroad against the looming threat of fascism, George Patton famously enlisted the entire Third Army to pray that they might “crush the oppression and wickedness of our enemies and establish Thy justice among men and nations.”
As our republic marches into a fourth century, we find the peace already marred by new conflicts. As we reset from battles fought and prepare for those yet unfought, we would do well remember that conflict is not the true constant. Rather, the true constant is the God of our fathers to whom we appeal and give thanks. We thank Almighty God for bringing us this far and pray for the future of our republic. May we ever seek His justice, as say enthusiastically with those who have gone before us, “Our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”
Amen and Amen.
(Editor’s note: Metz is the U.S. Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear School chaplain.)