This last Memorial Day at the Field of Heroes in Pocatello, a dignified plaque was placed before those attending with the inscription “… we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortune and our sacred Honor.” It is a familiar phrase. It can be found in the closing statement of the Declaration of Independence. Often forgotten, however, is a significant word right before that phrase. That word is Providence. A word that is capitalized to indicate importance. The entire sentence (emphasis added) reads:
“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”
What is the significance of the word Providence? After two-and-a-half centuries, the meaning of words can change. Today, we think that the word means a belief in God. During the Revolutionary War Era, Providence had a deeper meaning. It meant that there is a God and that He sent us to Earth for a specific reason.
Back then, as was done in the Declaration of Independence, if one were to invoke the word Providence, it meant that he knew that God sent him to Earth for a mission. We sometimes call this our Life Mission.
The signers of the Declaration of Independence each knew his Life Mission. After inking their names, they knew that they would be hunted down, persecuted, and condemned to death. Not only were they at risk, their families were, too. Thomas Jefferson had to flee the persecuting Red Coats. During the flight, his precious baby lost its life to the cold, harsh weather. To avoid the cost, all he had to do was denounce the document that he had written. Then, the Red Coats would leave him and his family alone, and reward him with countless earthly riches. Jefferson did not do it. He could not turn back on the Mission that God had set for him.
Jefferson’s is not the only such story. All of the Signers had similar stories to tell.
Now that we know the meaning of the word, Providence, we need to ask: What is our Life Mission? If you already know yours, then what are you doing to fulfill this mission?
About a year ago, President Trump said that America was at a crossroads. We still are. Few would argue that we are not in difficult times. Fewer would argue that harder times are not ahead. To pull ourselves out, we need to know our Life Mission. And pursue it. I see Americans from all walks of life awakening to the awful sense of our situation.
If you still don’t know your Life Mission, it is time for you to discover it.
The first half of the meaning of the word Providence is that there is a God. He will tell us what He wants of us. All we have to do is ask.
Happy Birthday, America! By divine Providence, I have a bright hope that the best America has to offer is yet to come.
IMAGE: Idaho Field of Heroes Memorial Plaque (Photo Credit: Art da Rosa)