2 Cor.4: 8) We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9) Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; 10) Always bearing about in the body the dying of The Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
In 1776, as the fledgling colonies of our great nation assembled a military with flickering hopes of dispelling almost certain control by British might, a diminutive, young, brash naval commander, John Paul Jones, epitomized the face and spirit of America’s determination and courage. A loose knit assortment of colonies conceived in freedom and stretching their wings, were required to unify as a nation if they were to ever repel the overwhelming might of the world’s greatest fighting force. And those powers weren’t distant either. They were churning on their very shores, ready to advance on its ports and cities to conquer and occupy. Yet something far greater than fear of Mother England’s numerical superiority and battle-tested soldiers and sailors was arising from the collective soul of a freedom-loving populace. The not-so-long-ago memories of religious and economic oppression were all too near for this fragile nation to roll over and die– even if death was the cost for retaining it! Something more devastating than muskets and cannons was about to be unleashed in the face of an almost undefeatable foe!
In 1779, American naval hero John Paul Jones was credited with a battle cry that resonates, not so much with the subjugated, but with the joyfully liberated. With a ragged mix of untrained sailors and unqualified as warriors, Jones’ undermanned ship BonHomme Richard, (a former merchant ship retrofitted for military use) confronted the big guns of the HMS Serapis, the Royal Navy’s best. Words are inadequate in describing the bloodiest naval battle of the Revolutionary War. Jones and the BonHomme Richard, after being rendered virtually useless with a withering onslaught of cannon balls, were demanded by the Serapis’ Captain to surrender or be annihilated and sunk. Jones responded with words that define courage when liberty is at stake and words that fly from the lips of the free but sense an enemy lies to pilfer– “I have not yet begun to fight!”
Though beaten, mangled, burning and at the point of sinking, Jones and his motley crew did the unthinkable by turning their sails toward the big-gunned Serapis. With unrestrained defiance, they rammed it and came alongside it. Then, coupling it with grappling hooks, boarded that enemy ship and commenced hand to hand combat. Read the rest of this entry »