“Give him the grace to die to self on a daily basis so that Your ordering of events and Your resurrection power will be evident in every battle of his life.” Imagine the impact of having these words prayed for you.
This was a part of Dad’s verbal blessing, given to me during our trip to George Washington’s Mount Vernon on my birthday, April 13. Under blue skies and greeted with the river breeze, we gathered in front of the gentleman farmer’s mansion while Dad slowly and clearly read the blessing.
This day and this month hold many exciting memories for me: going to the zoo, riding the metro in D.C. for the first time and later bird watching in different places including Virginia. I remember when in 1992, at a park not far from Mount Vernon, Dad, Michael, Robert and I “happened” to come across a dark, shiny, heron-like bird rarely seen there: the Glossy Ibis.
And it was April 21, 1983 that I found the answer for one of my biggest questions: Where will I go when I die? That was the morning I first understood that, for someone who knows Christ, dying is like falling asleep and then waking up with Him in heaven! On that day I believed that my sins were paid for because Jesus voluntarily took them on the cross, confessed Him alone as my Savior, and trusted him to take me to heaven when I died. That became my spiritual birthday.
That decision changed the way I look at life. Every day that I wake up in the morning, I am “raised to walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4) by the mercies of a faithful Heavenly Father. I believe this was the persuasion of the father of our country. From the Sugar Act (April 1764) and the “battle” of Lexington (April 19, 1775) through the birth and maturation of these United States, God deliberately orchestrated the events that would come to bear on Washington’s life and produce, through right responses, the character he is known for. He felt and acknowledged his Heavenly Father’s sovereignty often; and, knowing the example that Washington set in the battles of his life, this is where we decided to go for my 28th birthday and my father’s verbal blessing.
At Mount Vernon, order and peace were the rule and even the shingles and nails of the threshing barn were all numbered. From the shoemaker’s bench to the “sundries garden” for pumpkins and flax, we could see that everything had its place. Towards the day’s end we went by Washington’s tomb and also the deathbed upon which he uttered his last words: “‘Tis well.”
I am really anticipating the year ahead. I am immensely grateful for the investments Dad, Mom and many others have made in contribution to my present fulfillment and happiness in Christ. If I can learn more of what it means to die daily to myself and live in the victory of Jesus Christ, it will be well!
I pray you will echo with me Washington’s words: “Let my soul watch for the coming of the Lord Jesus; let my bed put me in mind of my grave, and my rising from there of my last resurrection; O heavenly Father, so frame this heart of mine that I may ever delight to live according to thy will and command, in holiness and righteousness before thee all the days of my life.”
Source: George Washington the Christian (1919), William Johnson, p. 34