A Message from Pastor Craig: 1-15-2023

Last week I had to go to a funeral in Bushnell, FL (a wonderful friend and colleague, Allen Jefferson had passed away—our accountability group loved him and misses him).  I’d never been to Bushnell.  Very few people have.  Maybe if you have driven I-75 in Central Florida, you have seen signs for it.  I doubt you’ve gone to see it though.

If you go there you also see signs for the Dade Battlefield State Park.  As a resident of South Florida for so many years, I’ve always wondered why there was a “Dade” Battlefield up there, and “Dade” City pretty close by, when in fact “Dade” County is down here.  Too lazy to look it up, I just left it under the shroud of indifference, assuming that it would turn out that “Dade” was some dude that belonged up there and not down here.

Which, as it turns out, was true.

Major Francis Dade lived in Tampa, and volunteered to lead a troop out of there to go up towards Ocala to fight the
Seminole Indians, but they were massacred enroute.  That is what the Dade Battlefield commemorates.  Now, losing that battle meant a greater resolve to win the war from the Federal Government’s point of view.  And while the Seminole Wars lasted an incredible amount of time, and the Seminoles put up a remarkable fight, the war was ultimately won by the
government.

But it sure seems that the battlefield, and the city, and the county were all named after a guy who made a really bad
decision.  The battalion he was leading could hear the Seminole scouts the first night they were out.  So they knew they were being watched.  Yet they forged ahead.  I am not a student of history (I know some people who are!).  I will not pontificate on what I don’t know.  I don’t know the motivation or the disposition of Francis Dade.  Was he an impulsive guy?  I don’t know.  Was he presumptuous?  It appears so.  Did he assume he could outgun them?  I suppose so, why else would he continue?

The Psalms say: “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.”  Trusting our own resources, be that guns or money or whatever, is not sure footing suggests the Psalmist.  My natural instinct is to trust what I know, what I feel.  I don’t always start with trusting, praying, “in the name of the Lord our God.”  Too often we do that once the bullets (or whatever) start flying.

I really like the words of Proverbs that make the suggestion that our path will be lead by God if we acknowledge Him (the verses are below).  Many times the way is not obvious to us.  By our own estimation we find two options equally good, or equally bad, or equally ambiguous, but God knows, and God cares, and we can lean on Him.  That’s the way I want to go through this next year—not leaning on my own understanding, but on Gods. 

Back from the woods of Bushnell,

Craig

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.  Proverbs 3:5,6