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"These are times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he who stands for it now deserves the love and thanks of man and woman! Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet, we have this consolation with us -- that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap we esteem too lightly; 'tis dearness only gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods." So wrote Thomas Paine on December 23, 1776.

1776. The colonists were in a life and death struggle against the superior forces of Great Britain. There was no assurance that they could win this war. The struggle has gone through the spring and summer and fall of 1776. Now, Washington's troops were encamped at Valley Forge, trying to stay warm and dry in the bitter harsh freezing New England winter. The weather is extremely cold, food and supplies are scarce, medicine is scarce, many of the men have deserted and gone home. The situation was so critical that it caused Thomas Paine to write, "These are times that try men's souls....."

What was true in 1776 is still true today! The Church is at war with an un-Godly society. Once life was sacred, valued, precious. Not so today! A teen shoots his fellow students, someone plants a bomb and kills 50 people, and may families suffer violence and abuse.

Once we had respect for those in authority. Not so today! People rebel against all authority, even God's authority; they have no respect for people, nor for their property. Once we valued honesty and decency. Not so today! We value only what makes us happy; we care only about ourselves. Once we had stable families. Not so today! Our society has re-defined "family" in the most un-Godly ways, and destroyed "family" as God designed it to be.

Once we honored our nation. Not so today! We no longer believe in what the Founders of our Nation believed. We no longer believe that America is the greatest nation in the world, the land of the free and the home of the brave.

The conflict between the Church and an un-Godly world is real. The battle will be long and hard. But we Christians cannot afford to be "summer soldiers"; the victory will be won by those who endure to the bitter end.

Soldiers of Christ arise, fight on -- for the victory is ours!

Don Kuehle is a retired United Methodist minister who lives in Jackson. Opinions are those of the author.

Religion on 07/11/2019

Print Headline: OPINION: Summer Soldiers

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