It was Sunday, October 27, 1862, that a small band of Quakers came to visit President Abraham Lincoln in the White House. He had no idea what they were seeking and was surprised when they asked nothing for themselves, wanting only to share in his burdens. The little group settled into worship consisting of vocal prayer, silent waiting on God, and a brief message from one of the women in the group.
Then the president himself began to speak…”We are indeed going through a great trial—a fiery trial. In the very responsible position in which I happen to be placed, being a humble instrument in the hands of our Heavenly Father, as I am, and as we all are, to work out his great purposes, I have desired that all my works and acts may be according to his will, and that it might be so, I have sought his aid.”
|Mt. Rushmore National Monument|
In Lincoln’s Second Inaugural and in other addresses, this idea of being an “instrument” of the divine will is a constant theme. His words were not partisan. He seems to have prayed for all elements in the struggle to be submissive to God’s will and for a real change of heart. He asked the people, after the Battle of Gettysburg, “to subdue the anger, which has produced, and so long sustained a needless and cruel rebellion, to change the hearts of the insurgents, to guide the counsels of the Government with wisdom adequate to so great a national emergency, and to visit with tender care and consolation throughout the length and breadth of our land all those who, through the vicissitudes of marches, voyages, battles and sieges, have been brought to suffer in mind, body or estate, and finally to lead the whole nation, through the paths of repentance and submission to the Divine Will, back to the perfect enjoyment of Union and fraternal peace.”
Lord, make us instruments of thy peace….