With Your Face to the Enemy

Today I recall the letter that Isaac E. Avery wrote to his father when Avery lost his life in the Battle of Gettysburg. As Avery lay dying, he wrote–in his own blood–a letter to his father that said, “Major, tell my father I died with my face to the enemy.”

Tell my father I died with my face to the enemy.

In fact, I learn that Avery was the closest man to enemy lines that afternoon in Gettysburg. People often quote this letter to illustrate courage and strength and a willingness to sacrifice. Avery didn’t turn away from the enemy, and he didn’t run. He died with his face to the enemy, and that’s what he needed his father to know. That was the most important thing.

As I think about the close of the Christmas season and the beginning of a New Year, I think about courage. I think about facing every battle, both internal and external, with a new resolve. God strengthens and empowers, so we do not fear. God has overcome, so we do not fear. God has ordained our circumstances, so we do no fear.

We can advance with our face to the enemy and no longer retreat into a lesser kind of living. We move forward without fear.

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