He could not boast of the noblest lineage or the finest education, but George Washington, the nation’s first president, seemed chosen of God to lead a new nation dedicated to his glory. God preserved him for a purpose. He was never even wounded in battle. God’s hand was clearly upon his life.
Promoted to colonel in the colonial militia by his early 20s, Washington became an aide to the British fighting the French in 1755. although his mother tried to dissuade him, he reminded her, “The God to whom you commended me, madam, when I set out upon a more perilous errand, defended me from all harm, and I trust he will do so now. ” He was right.
During the French and Indian War, Washington fought alongside British officers who refused to hide behind trees like their opponents. In a battle on July 9, 1755, near Fort Duquesne, Pa., redcoats on horseback were being picked off by enemy bullets. But God’s hand of protection was on George Washington. Horses were shot out from under him twice, but he was never injured. When a volley of clear shots left Washington untouched, a warrior declared, “This man was not born to be killed by a bullet!” An awe-struck chief ordered his braves to cease firing, realizing, “This one is under the special protection of the Great Spirit.”
In a letter to his brother, Washington gave glory to God for his deliverance. “By the all powerful dispensations of Providence, I have been protected beyond all human probability or expectation; for I had four bullets through my coat and two horses shot under me yet escaped unhurt, although death was leveling my companions on every side of me.”
When Washington revisited the area in 1770, an aged chief told how his warriors had fired in vain that day. “A power mightier far than we shielded you.” Then he prophesied: “Listen! The Great Spirit protects that man and guides his destinies – he will become the chief of nations and a people yet unborn will hail him as the founder of a mighty empire. I am come to pay homage to the man who is the particular favorite of Heaven and who can never die in battle.”
As God’s plan for him unfolded, Washington was elected commander in chief of the Continental Army in 1775. During the American Revolution, divine guidance and protection would become increasingly evident in his life.
Another heavenly intervention occurred in August 1776. When 32,000 British troops surrounded America’s 8,000 on Long Island, Washington declared they would “firmly rely on the protection of Divine Providence.”
Rough weather prevented an enemy attack via the East River.
General Washington was inspired to ferry his entire company, their supplies and livestock across the river and escape under cover of night. A torrent of rain and wind gave way to perfect conditions. Although every available vessel was enlisted, daylight threatened discovery of those left to cross.
But Washington’s chief of intelligence, Major Benjamin Tallmadge, noted a strange occurrence: “A very dense fog began to rise … and it seemed to settle in a particular providential occurrence perfectly well, and so very dense was the atmosphere that I could scarcely discern a man at six yards distance … We tarried until the sun had risen, but the fog remained as dense as ever.” It didn’t lift until General Washington was crossing the river in one of the last boats.
A loyalist family nearby had sent a servant to alert the British. But he was delayed by German speaking soldiers who could not understand him. By the time the British scrambled to fire on the retreating boats, it was too late. Once more God had intervened to preserve the destiny of George Washington and the new nation he would lead.
In battle after battle, God continued to direct and protect Washington. In 1781, he forced a British surrender in the last major battle of the war.
He went on to lead the convention that produced America’s constitution. Then he was elected our first president.
Called the “Father of his country,” Washington was the strong, godly leader America needed to see her through infancy to stability. Time after time, when all could have been lost, God intervened for this great man of faith and his destiny. It has been said that he did more to ensure American independence than any other person. God preserved his life so he could fulfill his purpose.
God has a purpose for our leaders today as well.