Lessons From Farms and Battlefields
Recently after a very lovely couple days of celebrating my brother and new sister-in-law’s wedding out east, my husband Doug and I spent a day and a half in Gettysburg, PA. We both enjoy history, and learning more about our nation’s past is always a worthwhile endeavor.
I have a general understanding of some of the progression of the American Civil War, but there is much I do not know. Some who may read this have surely studied this period of history in much greater depth than I have. My purpose in writing is not to give you a detailed description of the events and motives prior to, during, and after this battle, but to convey significant truths which I felt the Lord impressed upon me as I looked, listened, read, and contemplated.
The three-day battle at Gettysburg during the Civil War covered a fair amount of ground, so we opted to take a bus tour. The guide on board, talking a mile a minute, shared his knowledge about many specific aspects of the harrowing battle, as well as some of the reasons behind it as he understood it. What he said about the latter diverged a bit from the usual narrative often taught. While I can’t say I had never heard the ideas he shared, as I listened it just felt like a significant perspective to look at. Whether I sensed it at that moment or it was after the fact, I felt it was relevant to today’s issues. In short, he said the war wasn’t primarily over either protecting or eradicating slavery. He asserted that for Abraham Lincoln and many in the North, the fight was to preserve the Union. But not just for unity’s sake. Lincoln knew that England (and apparently France and Spain) were waiting to swoop in and take advantage of the division. Their involvement, at least initially aiding the southern states because of their economic connections, would spell certain death for the United States of America. These major world powers wanted very much to reabsorb all the fledgling nation’s territory, resources, and former subjects of the crown into their coffers (or perhaps the coffers of whoever controlled them at the time).
The first afternoon we were in town, we walked from the town square/circle up to Cemetery Ridge, and sat on the hill which overlooked Culp’s Hill and the lower ground between the two. As I read the map captions about the battles that raged in that particular place almost 160 years prior, it struck me very strongly that as the battle-weary Union soldiers on top of the hill attempted to stave off the surely equally-beleaguered Confederate troops, there was literally a battle for the high places ensuing. High places were significant in the Bible. They were either dedicated to God or to an idol. Idolatry amongst God’s people was grave indeed. High places today influence society, and they will either be occupied by those who align with the kingdom of light, or the kingdom of darkness. And the battle is real.
It's hard to imagine nowadays how one can truly be an American and not hold dear the value of liberty. The centuries of legalized enslavement of human beings in this nation, and in particular the abuses and dehumanization of the men, women, and children who were enslaved throughout our history leaves us without excuse. Far be it from me to minimize the impact those years had, and continue to have, on our past and present story as a nation, and on individuals. All men and women are created equal…and our Creator designed us to live in freedom, in right relationship with Him. That said, what if the flames of animosity between the North and the South weren’t exactly because of views on slavery, but perhaps it was an issue an outside force exploited to explosively divide the people?
That is exactly what has been happening here the past several years, as well as around the world for decades. As I sat on that tour bus listening to the guide, I wondered to myself if there was a connection between the Rothschilds (who have financed both sides in about every war in the world over the past few hundred years) and the Civil War. I’d just never looked into it (haven’t been awake enough to even know I should until the past year or more). Ding! Ding! Ding! When I typed it in, there were absolutely several links to the subject. In one link, from an excerpt of “Descent into Slavery” by Des Griffin, I read after a failed attempt at financial control in the 1820’s and early 1830’s, the international bankers found a new opening through which America could be undermined via the south’s dependence on English cotton manufacturers. This excerpt also referenced a book called The Illustrated University History, written in 1878, which details how “southern states swarmed with British agents. These conspired with local politicians to work against the best interests of the United States. Their carefully sown and nurtured propaganda developed into open rebellion and resulted in the secession of South Carolina on December 29, 1860.” Sound familiar yet? One of the many lessons we should garner from the horrors of years of bloody civil war is that Americans were taught to believe that fellow citizens with opposing views were the enemy. The Rothschilds, international bankers, etc, could not succeed unless the nation was divided! And guess what? The same is true today. The surest way to be destroyed is if we allow ourselves to be brainwashed into thinking our neighbor is our enemy. Jesus himself said a house divided against itself cannot stand. Reason would say, then, UNITED WE STAND.
Doug knew he wanted to visit Eisenhower’s farm just outside of Gettysburg while we were there. Neither of us had been before, and I personally only remembered vague details about Ike and his life, so it was really interesting listening to the dedicated park rangers and discovering more insights into what kind of person he was as well as the roles he filled in pivotal periods in history. Of course, being President of the U.S. and his military leadership in WWII and the D-Day invasion are some of his best-known contributions. In fact, he was so well thought of by the people after the war that BOTH the Republican and Democrat parties sought him for their presidential candidate in 1952 because they knew he would win hands down. He ran Republican because he believed in the value of a two-party system in our government and felt another Democratic win in that election would spell the end for the Republican party. Can you even imagine a candidate today that would appeal to both parties?? Actually, a part of me that sees beyond current circumstances can envision an American people reunited under one leader for the purpose of saving our nation when we are awakened to the fact our greatest threat is not from our fellow citizens whose views differ from own, but rather from a force outside which seeks to destroy us from the inside out. Not the same exact leader with all the same characteristics, but a leader anointed and appointed for such a time as this.
Despite Ike’s level of power as a world leader, he was always known as a genuine and humble man. After WWII and before he was sought for the presidency, he and his wife purchased a run-down dairy farm near Gettysburg, which they intended to enjoy in retirement. The presidency put a bit of a hold on the retirement, but apparently he had a desire within him to rehabilitate land that had been worn out from misuse. He is recorded as saying, “I shall leave the place better than I found it.” Through the help of farm managers, he implemented crop rotation, contour farming and other strategies to make his farm one of the most productive in the area. He also had a prized herd of angus cattle, which he enjoyed showing many visiting dignitaries. Ike’s son said, “When my father was president, he developed the habit of bringing visiting world leaders to the farm. Such informality, he reasoned, would make them feel at home.”
These accounts spoke volumes to me. The power of the general unity of the American citizens under a leader who had already done so much to combat the evil threatening to overtake the world. The magnitude of a leader born and raised up for his appointed time in history…a true leader who shared the glory of victory over darkness with every soldier who had put life on the line for a common good. The connection of this humble man to the land, and the vision he had to nourish and bring life once more from tired, worn-out, and even abused soils (upon which a civilization depends for survival). And even (and maybe most especially) the fact that leaders of nations visited a farm, and the proximity to God’s creation and His creatures perhaps served to strip away some of the pretense and allowed one human being to interact honestly with another. These are not unrelated anecdotes of a person’s life. They are interconnected clues to finding our way forward.
While walking around the grounds and cattle barns, which have now been donated to the government and are part of the national park service, I found a spot along one old barn wall where a hole was marked with a cone. It didn’t take me long to recognize it was a groundhog hole. We have them on our farm in far too great of numbers. I took a picture and sent it to dad with the caption “Even the power of the federal government through the national park service at the property of a 5-star general and former supreme allied commander can’t stop the impact of groundhogs.” He laughed and said, “Kind of says it all.”
Groundhogs do a lot of damage below the surface where you can’t see how they are undermining your foundations. Such is the way of overthrowing a nation. The damage being done is initially out of sight. Occasionally you see them running from hole to hole, though. They can’t stay hidden forever, and once you know they’re there, you need to take action if you want to protect what has been built on the foundations. Maybe this particular groundhog hole at Eisenhower’s farm could serve to remind us that at this point the government as an entity cannot (and will not) save us from the undermining of America’s foundation. It’s up to you and me and every citizen who values the virtues woven into the fabric of this nation to keep the United States of America from crumbling, even as we also witness God Almighty accomplish mighty feats we may feel helpless to bring about. What is hidden in darkness will be brought to light. So earnestly desire and seek Truth. For it is Truth which sets us free.