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"Don't Give Up The Ship!"


I love historical flags. Flags are symbols that represent an entity; usually a country, state, city, military branch or unit, church, and even companies. Some flags are used to convey a message, such as the famous historical naval flag that reads, "Don't Give Up The Ship!" This slogan has been placed on many different flag designs, and has been used in various movies and TV shows. You can still find this flag flying at U.S. military installations and ships around the world. Where did this phrase and flag come from?


On June 1st, 1813, Captain James Lawrence, lying mortally wounded in his cabin on the USS Chesapeake yelled the slogan to not give up the ship during a sea battle with the British ship HMS Shannon. This battle took place during the War of 1812, sometimes called the 2nd American Revolution. This particular battle took place just North of Boston, and even though the brave captain was attempting to motivate his sailors to win this battle, and not lose the Chesapeake, they did lose. The ship was lost. This battle was an enemy victory.

We have all lost battles in life. Sometimes we lost battles due to our own doing, and other times, it was due to the enemy. Either way, we do lose many times in life. Jesus said in John 16:33, "In the world you will have tribulation." Hearing that can cause us to get a little depressed. When Jesus Himself says that you are going to have problems, you know that it's going to happen. So what are we to do? Do we simply just give up?


When the USS Chesapeake was lost in battle, the motto, "Don't Give Up The Ship" became a rallying cry for the United States. A couple of months later, a blue banner with Lawrence’s words flew at the masthead of a namesake vessel, the USS Lawrence. Its captain, Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, won a decisive victory on Sept. 10 over British naval forces in the Battle of Lake Erie. The United States eventually won the War of 1812, and became stronger as a result of the victory over Great Britain.


The ending of verse 33 in John Chapter 16 gives us hope when we are in the midst of lives various battles. It says, "But take heart; I have overcome the world.” Jesus has overcome the world, even when we, with our finite understanding, cannot see the results with our own eyes. You will lose battles in life, as I will. However, He has overcome the world, and the war is won in Him, and He will return one day. And when he returns, all will be made right. Rest in Him in all you do, and know that these struggles are temporary. Friends, it will end.


"Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!"

Psalm 27:14

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