Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. -Hebrews 11:1
For where two or three gather in my name, there an I with them ~ Matthew 18:20
The following is a story of an imagined participant in the Battle of Gettysburg. This battle was a turning point for the United States, and the hopes and dreams of those involved are landmarks to the heart and soul of our nation. In anticipation of our annual Gettysburg battlefield training, TJC authors have taken creative liberty to generate some of those hopes, informed by history, that resonate through generations to our present time. Our hope is that it ministers to your spirit.
From the diary of Isaiah Sojourner, a freedman, July 1 1863.
It was such a joy to meet that young seminary student today. I believe his name was Christian Turner. So fitting. Who would have thought it would have taken a war for us to speak. Father Abraham declared us all free six months ago to the day. And even though I was already free, since I escaped up to Pennsylvania with the help of the Quakers some 4 years ago. It still feels good to celebrate with my brothers and sisters around the country. Anyway, I was tending the grounds at the Seminary as I do, when Mr. Turner came up. He was talking to himself and going on. Then said General Lee and the rebels were advancing on the town. I could tell that his spirit was troubled. He may have been praying, or maybe just yelling, to himself. He was so excited that it was hard to say. He started pacing and almost tripped over my rake when I said “Sir, look out!” I begged his pardon and he snapped out of his trance and saw me. I mean he SAW me. This was the first time I think a white man ever SAW me. With anguish in his eyes, he told me General Lee was coming and that I had to leave. He mentioned that he had a brother and an uncle in the war. His brother is fighting for the Union, but his uncle from Kentucky was fighting with the Confederates down in Mississippi, Vicksburg he said. I told him that I knew of the place. I used to have kin there.
He said he had heard that they were capturing negroes and sending them back down South as slaves. I told him that I had heard the same things. Friends and family had heard of people being caught up. I told him that I have a wife, Bella and two children. I can’t leave. This is our home. This is our country. I asked him what he was going to do. He said he was headed to the chapel to pray. He said he was from Ohio, but felt a desire to remain here. He had climbed to the top of the Seminary’s belfry to seek a better perspective, but then the troops made him depart. I wished him well, and then the most bizarre thing happened. This white man reached to grasp me, to put his arm around me, it startled me and I pulled back, then he said, “I only mean to pray with you.” And that’s just what we did. He prayed starting with “Lord you said when two or more are gathered in my name, there I am with you also. Father, there are two of us here…” when he finished he said “Amen”, then I prayed for him. For that moment the war stopped, all this fighting on, about us not being equal and both not being Men and Brothers in our Lord Jesus... all that noise went away. We were brothers, we are brothers.. I KNEW him and he KNEW me. We said “Amen”, shook hands and I went back to tending the grounds as he walked off. As he walked, the cannons began to fire.
DAILY BATTLE ORDER:
There is noise all around us. We often get distracted by the realities of life and miss what is important. Pray today for the Lord to open your eyes to those who are there but you are not seeing. Pray to know them and be known by them. Then act. Step into the space and introduce yourself.
SIGN UP FOR GETTYSBURG: Calling all Kingdom Men! The Joshua Commission will hold its annual Gettysburg Battlefield training 15-16 October or meet us on the battlefield on 16 October at 0830
Click the link above to sign up. Please join us in Gettysburg, experience genuine fellowship with Christian men, and equip yourself for Victory as a prince and warrior in God’s kingdom!