27 Manuary, 2016
Sometimes being a dad brings with it life lessons you’re not expecting. I’ll do my best to never forget my two year old daughter, through crocodile tears, saying the sweetest “tank tou” you ever heard, to a nurse who’d just inflicted her with her greatest fear, shots! Toddlers are always able to teach you something. Usually it’s that fact that you don’t have enough patience. Or that you need to pay more attention to your children. (Parenting is always a learning process) But there’s wisdom in those little characters as well. Wisdom that hasn’t been tarnished by grown up “logic.” I’m not sure my daughter was actually thankful for her shots—even though she says she’s glad she got medicine—but that’s not entirely the point. The point is, the lesson to be learned, is that’s it’s always important to be thankful for our medicine, even when it hurts.
Napoleon had gotten used to winning his battles and his wars. He’d largely conquered Europe on the strategy of rapid advances supported by foraging local areas to supply and support his army. But Europe and Russia were two different things. While Europe was supply dense, Russia was somewhat sparse. What’s more, Russia was willing to sacrifice itself to survive. Nevertheless, when Napoleon invaded Russia, he initially planned to defeat the Russian army quickly and set up camp in Smolensk. And things began to go as planned. No doubt Napoleon’s confidence grew. Then something unexpected happened. The Russians, after losing a few battles, burned Smolensk and retreated. Beginning their famous “Scorched Earth” strategy. Retreating and destroying everything in their wake.
Let me admit that I am not a military strategist. I am not a historian. And I am not an expert on the French invasion of Russia in the early 19th century. So I don’t want to sit and criticize the abilities of Napoleon, one of the greatest military minds and conquerers in history. Let me point out what happened however. Napoleon followed the Russians deep into their country. Following burned out town after destroyed village. With few supplies available on the local economy most sustenance had to come from a supply line that was quickly outstretched. Then winter came… Instead of a conquered land, Russia quickly became a trap for Napoleon. Accounts differ somewhat, but in December 1812 Napoleon left Russia with around 10,000 men. Six months earlier he had entered with close to 700,000.
In five years I shall be master of the world: there only remains Russia, but I shall crush her.” – Napoleon cr. 1811
The Bible says, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” – Proverbs 16:18 (ESV) Sometimes the best medicine for our lives is a little injection of humility—which often hurts more than we’re willing to accept and learn from. Sometimes through tears we need to reach up and say our best little “tank tou” and let the medicine take affect.
Finally, if this entire message is nothing but discouraging, take heart, because the Bible also states, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” – Proverbs 17:22 (ESV) Maybe that’s why after getting her shots we took our daughter to get some ice-cream. Not all medicine should be hard to take. Here’s the thing however. All medicine needs to be recognized and used for it’s best purpose. That means our life lessons need to be seen and recognized, and we need to decide to be affected by them in the best way possible. That’s our decision of destiny and it’s important.
God Bless You,