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700 Club Interactive - January 3, 2017

Radio host Michael Medved recounts moments of divine providence in American history. Read Transcript


GORDON ROBERTSON: She witnessed a war zone.

Children who were so traumatized

that they couldn't speak, because they

watched their father be killed by rebels

or met child soldiers for the first time.

GORDON ROBERTSON: And the emotional scars left behind.

They thought nightmares were normal, because they've always

lived in trauma.

GORDON ROBERTSON: Why Bethany Williams went back.

These kids need to know that they're important.

GORDON ROBERTSON: On today's "700 Club Interactive."


Well, welcome to the show.

American history is filled with events

that some would call happy accidents or coincidences.

But author Michael Medved believes

something else was at work in the rise of our great republic.

Take a look.

Since the planting of the cross at Cape Henry in 1607

when English settlers dedicated this New World

to God and the gospel, American history

has recorded an uncanny pattern.

At moments of crisis when it seems disaster is imminent,

something else happens time and time again--

deliverance from crisis and progress

toward a better future.

Author Michael Medved says America's blessings are not

due to random chance, but a reflection of God's guidance

and intervention.

In his new book "The American Miracle: Divine Providence

and the Rise of the Republic," the best-selling author

and radio host tells about some of the most significant events

in America's rise to prosperity and power.

And he reveals that what's at the heart of it

all is what the founders always believed--

that events of our nation's history

unfolded not by accident, but according

to a providential master plan.

Well the book is called "The American Miracle:

Divine Providence in the Rise of the Republic."

And Michael, you're with us to talk more about this.

I've read a lot of George Washington.

And the number of times he refers to providence

is amazing.

I think most Americans don't realize that.

But what was it about him that caused that?

He seemed to be a miracle man.

He was.

My chapter about Washington in the book

is called "Indispensable, Indestructible."

And people around him came to believe

that he was indestructible.

I tell the story of when he was first a 23-year-old colonel--

lieutenant colonel in the Virginia Militia.

And he was part of the officer corps

that rode out into the Battle of Monongahela in 1755.

And again, 23 years old-- there were 70 British officers

on horseback.

69 of them were either killed or wounded.

Washington was not.

And he had two mounts shot out from under him.

He had a bullet knock his hat off his head.

He had bullet holes in his clothes.

And it was so remarkable that a 23-year-old guy--

Samuel Davies, who later became president of Princeton--

he was one of the most important preachers of the time--

Presbyterian-- he actually delivered a sermon and said,

I cannot but hope that providence has preserved this

heroic youth Colonel Washington for some signal purpose to his


Pretty good--

Pretty good endorsement.

21 years before 1776.

I've heard that the Indians actually

claim that they wanted to meet him,

because they had targeted him because he was on horseback.

Is that apocryphal?

It is not apocryphal.

I spent a great deal of time on that in the book,

because this is the story of what's

called the Indian prophecy.

And Washington's almost descendent, his step grandson,

had spoken to Dr. Craig, who had accompanied

Washington on a well-documented expedition to the wilderness.

And on that expedition, and there

were a bunch of people around the campfire,

and this was verified by at least two of them,

there was an elderly Indian who came forward,

and this was years after that Battle of Monongahela,

and they said, Washington is going to become a great chief.

He wasn't yet.

It was before the revolution.

And they said, on the battle, our bullets couldn't miss.

We killed all the British.

This was a disaster for the British Army.

He said, but bullets were powerless

against this young man, and we were certain

that the Great Spirit protected him.

Now, this was written about and became

very popular after Washington's death, which is, again, one

of these strange coincidences.

He died on December 14th, 1799, just weeks

before the end of a whole century

that he had dominated with his personality.

And, again, cheating death again and again-- there's

another story before the Battle of Brandywine.

The most famous marksman in the history of the British army

was Major Patrick Ferguson.

And right before the battle, he's with a nest of snipers,

and Washington rides into sight.

And he's wearing a large, cocked hat and a cloak.

And he said, after the battle-- Ferguson-- he said,

I could have put six musket balls into him

without question.

But it wasn't pleasant to me to harm someone who was so

coolly attending to his duty.

It's just remarkable.

Something, in other words, came over him.

And there are stories and stories and stories like this.

Andrew Jackson, who is a dominant figure

in our early history, in 1835, he

goes to the capitol building.

It's his second term as president.

He's an old man.

He's at the end of his second term.

He goes for a funeral of an ally of his

who was a congressman from South Carolina.

He's walking out of the funeral.

He's under the rotunda.

And all of a sudden, the crowd hears a gunshot.

An unemployed house painter, a British national,

had come up to Jackson and fired at him

with a musket from 6 feet away.

You can't miss from 6 feet away.

It misfired.

And then Jackson starts beating him with his cane.

The guy takes out a second gun-- fires again.

It misfires.

They later tested these muskets.

There was nothing wrong with them.

They just had misfired.

And again, at the time, they rated

the chances of that happening as 1 in 250,000.

It's probably mathematically worse than that.

GORDON ROBERTSON: All right, well, let's

talk about the election of Abraham Lincoln,

because I think without him in the presidency,

the nation would have divided.

No, there's no question about it.

I cite, in the book, some of the conclusive historical

determinations that Lincoln was the crucial element

in Northern victory.

And the fact that he became president is preposterous.

People think that our current president-elect

is an unlikely president.

He's a billionaire and a famous man.

Lincoln was a prairie lawyer.

He had served one term in the House of Representatives.

When right before the convention,

the Republican Convention convened in 1860, his hometown

paper, "The Chicago Tribune," ranked the possible Republicans

in the order of likelihood.

Lincoln ranked 14th, and they thought he was all wrong.

And yet he wins the nomination on the third ballot

partially because Judge Davis helped

to give out maybe counterfeit tickets to stock the galleries

with Lincoln supporters.

And then, again, he becomes this American miracle,

because Lincoln had a total of six months

that he had spent in any school of any form.

And he is one of the great prose writers

and one of the great theological thinkers of all of history.

GORDON ROBERTSON: Have we gotten away from the concept

that providence is guiding America,

that we are a city on the hill?

We have.

And the consequences have been dire,

because look, America's emergence as the dominant power

in the world militarily, culturally, economically,

is totally unlikely.

So people basically come to one of two ways to explain it.

Either you explain it based upon America

got to be so powerful because we're

bad-- because we enslaved people-- because we destroyed

Native Americans.

By the way, you can argue against that argument,

because other countries that did it even worse than we did never

gained the kind of success America did.

We gained that success in spite of our sometimes cruel

behavior, not because of it.

So then you are left with the question--

how do you explain America?

And ultimately, it can't be just random accidents.

It's not random evolution.

It's intelligent design.

So who's the designer?

There are a lot of people who will say, OK,

America had very good design.

But it's these smart founders.

It's Franklin, and Adams, and Washington, and Hamilton,

and Madison.

OK, except they all saw themselves

as the instruments of design, not its authors.

They all did, including the ones--

GORDON ROBERTSON: They all credited providence

with the ideas that they came up with.

Entirely, and with all of these

coincidences that kept helping them.

For instance, the amazing story of the Battle

of Brooklyn-- and this is one of these stories when

I was writing about it, it makes the hairs on your forearm

stand up, because, wow, George Washington

loses the biggest battle of the Revolutionary War

in terms of the number of men involved.

There is a British army of 30,000-- crushes the Americans,

and then surrounds them, and traps them.

They're trapped in Brooklyn Heights

after losing the battle.

The British Army is surrounding them.

On the East River, British men of war and the British Navy--

how do they get out?

They're talking about surrender or maybe fighting

to the death against overwhelming odds.

It's August of 1776-- August in New York.

August in New York is pretty sticky.

All of a sudden, the fog comes up out of nowhere.

And everyone again at the time saw this as a miracle,

as an act of God.


Well, it clearly was.

They all said so, because it comes up out of nowhere.

It covers the river.

They row across in silence and success--

don't lose a single boat.

And Washington is on the last boat.

And the moment that he sets foot safely on Manhattan Island

to resume command of his troops, the fog miraculously clears.

And the British talked about this.

They saw what happened to the Americans.

They saw it as a wonder, as if this was-- they

refer to it as if Aladdin's magical lamp had somehow

made the Americans disappear.

Well, it was a bigger magic and bigger power than Aladdin.

All right, well, the book is called

"The American Miracle: Divine Providence

and the Rise of the Republic."

You can find it wherever books are sold.

And I encourage you to get in touch

with our history, particularly these miraculous moments where

God intervened.

And we just have to wonder today what great plan does

God have for America today.

And can we dream again that providence

is driving us, designing us, compelling us to do

his will in the world today.

Michael, thank you for the book.

Terry, over to you.

Well, coming up, she helps victims of war

and former child soldiers dream again.

Hear how Bethany William's own brokenness led her

to the exiled children of Africa.

That's next.


Bethany Williams never imagined the trauma she survived

could ever be used for something good.

But that's exactly what happened.

And here's her extraordinary story.

So I laugh a lot about reaching out for help

and how God used that to lead me into a war zone.

I was married just a few weeks actually

after I graduated from college.

We were both fighting addictions behind closed doors.

We were living really two separate lives.

Out of that came some trauma that I specifically went

through before the divorce.

And then the year following the divorce,

there was some more trauma and led me down

a road of not just sadness.

This was a depression that it felt like it enveloped me

really at times.

I started having flashbacks and nightmares

and not being able to sleep.

I wasn't able to work.

I wasn't able to function.

And that's when the suicidal thoughts became so heavy.

And I knew that it was really either live like this--

what I felt like forever.

Or swallow your pride and reach out for help.

Where I went was in Dallas.

It was a Christian treatment center.

And so we had prayer everyday and Bible study every day.

It was an environment that I was surrounded

with unconditional love.

Part of paying for the treatment center

was having to sell my car, which meant that I

didn't have an automobile.

But it was the last Sunday, and so I really

wanted to go to church somewhere and walked just

to the nearest church.

And there was a man speaking who had an African accent.

He had survived the Rwandan genocide.

So we started talking about an organization

that he founded that worked with peace and reconciliation.

I have a master's in social work,

and licensed clinical social worker,

and a doctorate in counseling psychology.

I'd been praying for God to show me

how to use my background in counseling and my journey

through trauma for good one day.

So fast forward two years, and I went

to Congo for the first time with that very organization

that he founded.

Then I come back totally wrecked,

because I've met children who were so traumatized that they

couldn't speak because they watched their father be killed

by rebels or met child soldiers for the first time

and had them ask me to be their mom, because they didn't have

a mom anymore.

I knew someone has to do something.

These kids need to know that they're important.

And they need to know that the world is not given up on them.

But the world exile kept coming back to me

on the plane ride home.

So I realize that physically they were in exile.

But emotionally, they thought a flashback was normal.

They thought nightmares were normal, because they've always

lived in trauma.

So I didn't have a plan.

And I didn't know what I was doing.

We started out working with maybe 35 kids.

And now, we're working with over 1,000.

We never dreamed of working with 1,000 kids.

But we just started working with kids,

and we started providing what we could do.

They'll draw on handkerchiefs, and they'll

draw on pieces of paper.

And they will wait forever to have that chance

to tell their story, because they want their story

to be told.

One of the coolest things is when

we asked the kids to dream.

Their face just shifts.


INTERPRETER: When I read hard, I want to be a doctor.


INTERPRETER: I want to become a preacher.


INTERPRETER: I want to become a psychiatric doctor.


INTERPRETER: And I know I'm always praying to the Lord.

I'm always praying to God to help me go to university.

I would tell them-- me coming back from the Congo

for the first time-- to not quit.

I would tell her not to give up.

I would tell her just to keep going.

And even in the hard times and when

people didn't believe in you and thought you were crazy--

and I would tell her they are going to think you're crazy.

But just do it anyway, because it's worth it.

And these kids are worth it.

There are over 300,000 child soldiers in the world.

So when you look at that number, it's massive.

But when you realize there's a lot of us out here.

And if a lot of us does something

for one child, one child, one child,

you're able to see that not only is their life different,

their bloodline is different.

I've learned that when we suffer,

that he's actually closer to us.

And we feel like he's left us and that he's

crying with us in our pain rather than causing it.

And then he loves ashes, because he's

able to look at the ashes of our lives,

where we're thinking this is my life, and it's in shambles,

and it's just going up in flames.

And he's thinking that's the good stuff.

That's when what I'm really going

to be able to make incredible beauty from.

The power to dream, to be able to have hope for tomorrow,

to be able to find healing from the past, is so significant.

It's true for all of us, but especially for the children

that Bethany has been reaching out

to and the people that CBN reaches out

to around the world.

I just want to say there's also a power that you and I have--

the power of one person to make a difference,

because they decide to.

I want to invite you to do that.

If you'd like to know the rest of Bethany's story,

pick up a copy of her book.

It's called "The Color of Grace."

It's available wherever books are sold

and hopefully a motivation for each one of us

to make a difference.


Well, still ahead, a young woman

is diagnosed with a wasting disease.

MELISSA HELSER: And attacks every joint in your body

and then turns and freezes them.

You've already lost four or five layers of bone

in your hands and feet.

You could be paralyzed in a year and a half.

GORDON ROBERTSON: See how she defied her diagnosis-- up next.


Have you ever received a supernatural healing only

to have the disease return?

Well, that's what happened to worship leader and songwriter

Melissa Helser.

But her story didn't end there.

This is her journey to complete wholeness.


MELISSA HELSER: When I was 17.

I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis,

which is psoriasis of the skin and psoriasis of the bones.

And they said, you've already lost four or five layers

of bone in your hands and feet.

You could be paralyzed in a year and a half.

When the psoriasis gets in your bloodstream,

it goes to the joint, and it begins

to eat away at the bone marrow, and then

the tissue gets infected, and attacks

every joint in your body, and then turns and freezes them.

I could barely get out of bed without taking the medicine.

They were just hoping that the medicine

would take the pain away-- ease the swelling.

But it wasn't.

It was a Friday, but I just really wanted to go to church.

The speaker got up to share, and he

was like, I just feel like there's people here who need

to be released from bitterness.

If that's you, I want you to stand up.

And all of a sudden, my heart starts racing.

And then I'm standing up.

Many moments of my life just really

began flashing through my mind.

It was rejection.

It was stuff that I had carried for my family.

And I just start hearing the Lord speak to me.

And the first thing he said was Melissa, what are you doing?

I've given you the authority and the courage

to stand up and fight against this thing.

Why are you laying down and dying in it?

After that, I threw away all my medicine.

And I went on a 30-day fast and was radically healed.

JONATHAN DAVID: The first time I met

Melissa, I remember thinking to myself whoever

that is in the way she loves God, I want to know her.

MELISSA HELSER: We got married in 2000.

And then a year after that, we got pregnant with Cadence.

And then a year after that is when everything came back

pretty intensely.

Within about a year, 70% to 80% of my body

was covered in psoriasis.

Any little thing that a normal person might

do like open a jar, all those little things

that you used your hands for, were constant, chronic pain.

Everything that a mom needs to do just be able to hold them,

to lift them, to run, to play, was pretty much impossible.

My heart was just like, Lord, heal Melissa.

Come on.

I know you can do it.

It's nothing for you.

It's so easy.

And he just whispered into my ear--

I want healing from Melissa more than you want healing.

Will you trust me?

MELISSA HELSER: As the years went on,

it got harder and harder to just do life-- to be a mom.

Sometimes you feel like you're losing it,

because in one second, you're declaring

the goodness of the Lord, and then the next second,

you're thinking, he's totally left me,

and I don't even know where to find him.

I made choice, after choice, after choice.

I'm not going to get bitter.

I am not going to be disappointed in the Lord.

I'm going to love my life.

Without tension, you really can't make music.

If you take the tension out of any instrument,

they won't make a sound.

Or it'll make a really bad sound.

I was like, oh, my gosh, I'm becoming new.

I'm becoming like the Lord, even though I'm

in this crazy tension with my body.

Do I believe that the Lord won't tighten me

so much that it will break me?

I remember smiling really big and just thinking like,

oh, my gosh, I'm changing.

I really began to know him in my desert.

That's where he proved his love to me.

JONATHAN DAVID: We literally watched songs

chase away the lies, even in the tension of her

not being healed.

Music was made.

And the songs that she wrote I know chased away the fears.

(SINGING) Whisper my name-- so only I can hear.

What I wanted was for another supernatural healing.

(SINGING) Call to my heart-- chase away my fears.

I hadn't been on medicine since I was 17,

because it did so much damage.

But the Lord is asking me to let go of all my expectation.

He's like, I'm going to honor your heart.

I see the faith, and the hope, and the belief inside of you.

But I'm going this way.

You know?

Like, I need you to get up, and I

need you to follow me this way.

Started on the medicine in March of 2007.

And within three or four weeks, I

started getting full feeling back in my hands and feet.

I remember the first day I walked up the steps,

and it didn't hurt to get Haven and pulling her out the crib--

the first time that I felt beautiful again--

the first time me and Jonathan went on a date-- god, it was--

JONATHAN DAVID: Her beauty has never faded in my eyes at all.

She loves Jesus in a fierce way, the way

she trusts the father's goodness, even when the disease

is still hanging on.

I've watched her look in the face

of the giants that are lying and say,

who are you to say my father's not good.



MELISSA HELSER: A lot of people look at it like.

But you're not healed.

And I'm like, you don't understand.

He absolutely gave me what he promised.

He gave me hope.

He gave me life.

He gave me love.

He gave me grace.


The promised land for me has been the opening of my eyes

to see the Lord for who he really

is, that he's a good father in spite of all of the suffering

that I've walked through and the suffering I still walk through.

It is the promise of his goodness.


Some very challenging verses in the New Testament,

all written by the Apostle Paul where he talks about how

sometimes his prayers didn't get answered and the message that

he received-- my grace is sufficient for you.

And then he was able to talk about the fellowship

of suffering and then what happens with that

and how that changes you where you know Jesus

in a whole other way, that whatever the affliction is,

and in that furnace of affliction,

you get to have fellowship with him at his moment of passion

where you wonder my God, why have you forsaken me?

Why are my prayers not being answered?

Why is the heavens brass?

And then you look and you find, no, he's still there.

He's still there.

He's still guiding you.

And you just long for him just to whisper your name

to know that he's there, and he's with you.

But the good news is God in working through that

still wants to heal you.

He still wants to restore you.

He still wants to do these things.

So let's pray for that.

Let's look to that hope that he has a plan for you.

And his glory is going to be revealed in you.

Let's pray, Lord, we lift these needs.

Those who have had recurring illnesses, those

who have gotten devastating diagnosis, is Lord,

we lift them to you.

And we trust in your unfailing love.

Show your love through them.

Heal them now in Jesus' name, Amen.

And Amen.

Here's a word for you-- "For our light and momentary troubles

are achieving for us an eternal glory

that far outweighs them all."


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