Ever heard of Israel Bissell? No? Me neither, until yesterday.
Israel Bissell is one of the heroes of the American Revolution who never found his way into history books. Bissell was a 23 year old dispatch rider who left home in April of 1775 to warn the Colonists about the British invasion. In fact, Bissell began his obscure ride on the same night Paul Revere rode with the warning,
“The British are coming. The British are coming.”
Israel Bissell galloped south with his news and according to local legend, he rode to Worcester – normally a day’s ride – in two hours. Witnesses claim his horse died upon arrival. He secured another horse and rode through the States of Connecticut, New York, and Pennsylvania, spreading the news that farmers were facing off against the Redcoats at Lexington. He rode 350 miles in less than a week, an accomplishment unheard of in those days.
Paul Revere only traveled 20 miles.
So why does Revere get all the accolades?
Maybe it’s because Longfellow found it easier to think of words rhyming with “Revere.”
Why do I mention Israel Bissell? No, it’s not to condemn historians for omitting his name from history books. I share this information to encourage those who at times feel like nobody’s. God chooses the insignificant to bring about the significant. Whether it be in the Kingdom of God or politics, it’s the “little” people behind the scenes who often bring about the greatest good.
In the Book of Acts, Peter and John found themselves arrested for their faith. They shared the reason for their allegiance to Christ with the religious leaders, and the Pharisees scratched their heads, wondering how such “unschooled and ordinary men” could present their position so articulately. Peter and John weren’t seminary graduates; they spent their lives on the Sea of Galilee dragging nets for fish. After a little more thought, the religious leaders experienced a “light bulb” moment. They realized these men had been with Jesus.
Being with Jesus makes a difference!
The hopes of our Country turning around hinges upon a few things:
1. Christians returning to God. “If My people who are called by My Name will humble themselves and pray and seek My Face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven, will forgive their sin, and heal their land.” (II Chronicles 7:14)
2. Being people of prayer. James 5:16 says, “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”
3. Get off the couch and enter the fray. Don’t think your voice isn’t important. Maybe you feel insignificant, but God uses the insignificant to accomplish great things.
You may not be the next Billy Graham, but you might just be the person who leads the future Billy Graham to Christ. You might not be the next Paul Revere, but
you might be the next Israel Bissell.
And this world needs Israel Bissells’.