In was early morning of Monday, July 15, 1918, when the German army began crossing the Marne River in assault boats. French and American forces having already endured more than 3 hours of heavy artillery bombardment were quickly overrun. Allied forces were outnumbered and retreating, but the voice of Major General Joseph Dickman, Commander 3rd Infantry Division, could be heard shouting in French, “Nous resterons la! (translated as “We Stand Here!”).” And stand the Americans did!
While the rest of the 3rd Division was pushed back, the 38th Infantry Regiment under the command of Col. Ulysses G. McAlexander dug in their position. Their stubbornness would earn the Regiment an enduring nickname – the Rock of the Marne. The Allied Forces held and one hundred days later World War I ended. Historians widely believed that the failure of allied forces to turn back the assault might have well signified a loss to the Germans (J. Elphick, 2021)
It is normal for us to go through periods when our faith is tested, and we don’t always met the challenge. We may not have had to take a stand on the battlefield, but we have all faced difficult moments. When adversity strikes, it is easy to forget who we are or more importantly “Whose” we are.
I experienced one of these moments. My wife and I were recently in Virginia to help our daughter move. I was thinking about the challenges I have been facing lately. It wasn’t that my challenges are insurmountable, they have just become tiring and frustrating. I felt myself starting to dig into that area where you want to throw your hands up in surrender when suddenly a sign appeared out of the corner of my eye. The sign read:
“Faith is strengthened each time it’s tested.”
I immediately knew the sign was meant for me. I’ll confess that a few years ago, I would have dismissed this incident outright, but I’ve have come to learn that God will nudge me from time to time to get me back on track or to remind me that (Psalm 121:7-8, NLT):
“The Lord keeps you from all harm
and watches over your life.
The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go,
both now and forever.”
I wasn’t ready to sing “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” but I knew I wasn’t alone. It wasn’t that my problems had gone away, just that I began to think about them less. Over the next few days, whenever I began to dwell on them, the phrase “Hold the Line” would run through my mind. If you have ever attended a high school or college football game, you may have heard the chant, usually calling for the team to make a defensive play, but it is a reminder to not yield to pressure.
If you happen to be going through one of those times when you’re feeling overwhelmed by life’s challenges, by all means turn to someone for help, but remind yourself that “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13, NIV). Sometimes, we need to remember that when things don’t seems to fall into place, and our plans are derailed, the best thing we can do is take a page from the 38th Infantry Regiment and say “Nous resterons la!” (“We Stand Here”).