The date was July 9th, 1755. The war was the French and Indian War with the British. Both Franklin and Washington had warned British General Braddock of a possible ambush. Braddock, without concern marched his men in a line stretching four miles long on a narrow, twisting forest path, near modern day Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Braddock was skilled in open field, European style warfare, and not what was to occur that day in the woods of Pennsylvania. To Braddock, to hide behind trees was cowardice.
A force of 72 French regulars, 146 Canadian militiamen, and 637 Indians (combined force of 855) ambushed the 1,300 English in the woods. The battle was very one-sided: 714 British soldiers were killed or wounded, of the 86 British officers 63 were killed or wounded – Braddock himself was mortally wounded; The French side lost about 30 men and three officers.
Washington, at 23 years of age, was a part of this great battle. His coat was ripped four times by musket balls. Two horses were shot out from under him. A gold seal which hung around his neck bearing his initials was shot off him (this was found some 80 years later). Yet, Washington was unharmed.
Chief Red Hawk told of shooting eleven times at Washington without killing him. At that point, because his gun never had such trouble hitting its mark, he ceased firing at him, convinced the “Great Spirit” protected him. Washington met an Indian chief, 15 years after the battle, near what is now the border of Ohio and West Virginia. He said, “Our rifles were leveled, rifles which, but for you, knew not how to miss –t’was all in vain; a power mightier far than we shielded you. Seeing you were under the special guardianship of the Great Spirit, we immediately ceased firing at you.” Another Indian is said to have said, “Washington was never born to be killed by a bullet! I had 17 fair fires at him with my rifle, and after all could not bring him to the ground!” (The Bulletproof George Washington by David Barton).
George Washington believed that he had been protected by the providence of God. He wrote to his brother John on July 18, 1755: “But by the All-powerful Dispensation 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!” (encyclopediavirginia.org).
Due to the nature of providence there is not a way to say with 100% certainty that this was due to God’s providence. (See Esther 4:14; Philemon 15). However, we do know that God is ultimately in control (Acts 17:26). It is so even today.
Furthermore, we know that we are to be good citizens. We are to obey the laws of the land (Matthew 17:24-27; 22:17-21; Romans 13:1-2; Titus 3:1; 1 Peter 2:13-14). We are taught to pray for those in authority (1 Timothy 2:1-2; cf. Jeremiah 29:7).
Clearly, this is a country with great prosperity and freedom. In the scriptures, it is taught that we are to be good stewards of what we have (1 Corinthians 4:2; Matthew 25:14-ff; Luke 19:11-ff; Luke 12:48b). No other people in the history of the world has been so free and prosperous. How are we using our blessings? Are we using our freedom and prosperity to spread the Good News?
No, I cannot say with 100% certainty that Colonel Washington was protected by God’s overpowering providence. Though it does make one wonder.
Here are a few thought on life in this(or any country). These are some things that I know. I do know that God wants us to obey this nation’s laws (with but one exception Daniel 3; 6; Acts 4:18-20; 5:29). I do know that we should pray for the leaders of this country, whomever they may be, that we may live a quiet, peaceable life (1 Timothy 2:1-2). I know that we are blessed to live here and with the great opportunities we have comes responsibilities. I do know that we are to live as lights in this world (Matthew 5:16). Furthermore, may we always remember that this world is not our home.