When I turned 60 years old (I still have a hard time imagining such a thing), my wife and daughter gave me a print of Arnold Friberg’s painting of George Washington kneeling in the snow at Valley Forge next to his great white stallion. That was July of 2020, and I had no idea at the time how important that print would become to me. Recently I came across a video of Friberg describing his inspiration for the painting, which he was commissioned to do for the Bicentennial of the Declaration of Independence in 1976:
You’ll remember that summer. We were in the midst of “two weeks to flatten the curve,” which would turn into two years of the Covid nightmare of worldwide government overreach. Looking back, it’s hard to fathom what happened, and I’m convinced it can only ultimately be explained one way:
12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
This is a well-known verse among Evangelicals like me, and when evil gets to an incomprehensible level to normal people, this is the most plausible explanation. We all know what such evil looks like, but the response to Covid was a horrific example, the consequences of which we will be living with for a long time. I’ll come back to this verse in Ephesian 6 in a moment.
Then, after four years of Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS), another form of incomprehensible evil happened in the presidential election of 2020, which was egregiously, blatantly stolen. You know this is an incontrovertible fact, and I am talking epistemological certitude like knowing the sun rises in the west, because to the media, Big Tech, and Democrats (and far too many Republicans), this is the opinion that dare not be uttered. Then to add insult to injury, we witnessed a quintessential FBI false flag operation, the January 6 “insurrection.” If it really was an insurrection, it was the worst one ever!
Then since the fraudulent president was installed in the White House on January 20, we discovered he really was not the “centrist” he claimed in the campaign, but was committed to finally fulfilling Barack Obama’s dream of fundamentally “transforming the United States of America”:
Americans are now seeing in real time what a disaster Obama’s radical leftist agenda is for the country, and they don’t like it.
I bring these things up not to litigate them here, and whether we agree with each other on the details, or my conclusions, isn’t important. I’m only sharing my response here, and why it’s been life changing for me.
After the election was stolen, God mercifully directed me to Steven Bannon’s War Room, which I’ve watched pretty much daily ever since. I, and millions of others inspired by the MAGA message, were deeply depressed. All I could think is, they got away with it! How could something like this happen in the United States of America! Bannon, thankfully, got me out of the fetal position, and to mix metaphors, talked me off the ledge. Then J6 happened, and that was even more depressing, but that’s when Bannon really shined and in effect started a movement to take back our country from the deep state leftist cabal.
Again, I am not interested in debating any of this, but I do believe those who disagree with me on my overall assessment will agree with me that we are in a definitional moment in American history. None of this would have happened if Trump hadn’t won in 2016, but it’s about far more than him. So, the question for Christians is, what now. This is where I come back to Ephesians 6. Almost all Christians, including me until very recently, quote this verse out of context, and I’m not talking about that chapter, even though the first nine verses point to the larger context. We can’t read verse 12 outside of the context of chapter 1. Paul is praying for the Ephesians (a prayer we should use to pray for those we love all the time), and references God’s “incomparably great power for us who believe.” Then he says:
That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
Boy, how we really don’t believe this. It’s pathetic, actually, and I’m as guilty as anyone. You know why we’re commanded in Scripture to trust God, not worry, “not be anxious about anything,” and “give thanks in all circumstances”? Because of Christ’s kingly rule over all things! If we really trust him, we will have perfect peace. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t quite achieved perfection yet. As long as we live in fallen bodies, in a fallen world, among fallen people, we have to trust him to sanctify us toward that perfection, but it ain’t easy!
But I digress. Back to the painting.
I believe, as did the Founders, that God in his providence allowed America to be founded, and I’m convinced he is bringing us through its re-founding. This is a huge topic for a book I’m working on, but believing this to be true, every morning when I pray, I pray for our country and look at that print. As I talk with God, telling him of my conviction, I fervently pray it would come true. Having a granddaughter now seems to make the stakes a little higher.
We seem to forget the odds against the American colonies in their endeavor to gain political independence from the mighty British Empire. The leaders of “the rebellion” were willing, in the closing words of the Delcaration, “with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence” to give their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to the cause. There are millions of Americans today willing to give their all to our little rebellion. From the merely human perspective the Founders had absolutely no chance. The odds are far better for our fight against the secular progressive administrative state, including the secular culture that promotes and worships it. We often can’t see beyond out own winter at Valley Forge, but God in his sovereign almighty power can also bring us to victory to re-found this blessed republic of the United States of America.