Friday, October 7, 2016

When God's Ways Seem Crazy

Last weekend, Jason and I visited the Battlefield of Cowpens for a Revolutionary War weekend. It was a very educational and exciting trip and served as research for one of my upcoming books. Living in South Carolina most of my life, I thought I would have visited the site by now or would have at least been more familiar with this part of the Revolutionary War, but sad to say, I was ignorant.

What I discovered is that the Battle of Cowpens was a turning point in the Revolutionary War and brought hope to the South who had faced multiple defeats. The odd thing is that this victory came about because of two men who were willing to set aside logic and do what they thought was best. It was their unconventional orders that led to a battle that was won in less than an hour.

First off, there was General Nathanael Greene, the leader in charge of the southern troops. At the time, he was stationed in Virginia, trying to prevent the advancement of the British troops into the North. Knowing his troops were outnumbered and unprepared for a full-on assault, he made the bold decision to split his army in half, hoping to force the British to do the same.  Led by Daniel Morgan, a portion of his army made their way into the upstate of South Carolina. Greene's plan worked, and the British divided their army, sending a portion to meet Morgan in Cowpens.

Daniel Morgan is known today as a tactical genius. Despite having the advantage of choosing his battleground, Morgan opted to fight in an open wood. He formed his troops in three lines straddling the road. The frontline was a small group of sharpshooters who were given the task to slow the British advance with well-aimed fire, then fall back. Ninety yards behind them was Andrew Pickens' regional militia. After two volleys of gunfire at killing distance, they were to fall behind the Continentals. Another 150 yards behind them were 600 crack militia Continentals from Maryland, Delaware and Virginia, who had orders to protect the militia and to be ready to fight.

Both of these men employed methods that were unorthodox and questionable, and no doubt, some of their men were scratching their heads and wondering if they should follow such ludicrous commands.  I'm reminded of Joshua and his army when the Lord commanded them to march around the walls of Jericho for seven days. What kind of battle plan was that? Or how about Gideon, when God continue to whittle his army down until he was left with only 300 men? His army was outnumbered 450 to 1. Horrible odds, right?

But we can relate, can't we? I think we can all remember back to a time when God asked us to do something that made absolutely no sense, at least not in our minds. Perhaps it was the time He asked us to give money when we had none to give. Or maybe it was the time He asked us to leave a paying job for one that guaranteed nothing in return. Whatever the situation, God gave us the command that seemed ludicrous, unconventional and downright scary. The question is, what did you do? What would you do if God asked you again?

God has given us proof time and again that even though His ways are not our ways, they are best and they are productive. Whether it be a battle against enemy soldiers or one against negative thoughts and feelings, we can always trust that God's ways are the right ways, even when they don't make sense. God has proven himself faithful, and He has shown us that his methods, though unconventional, produce results. Our job is not to question or to try to make sense of the process. Our only job is to obey. God will take care of the rest.

For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. - I Corinthians 2:11
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