Barbados’ role in the Revolutionary War

How are George Washington, Barbados, small pox and the Revolutionary War connected?

Unless you’re familiar with the obscure yet interesting story, you might be thinking “nothing!”  But that’s hardly the truth.  In fact, it could well be that the Barbados-small pox connection to the Revolutionary War was a key aspect in the troops’ eventual success.  You see, George Washington spent two months in Barbados when he was just 19 years old.  During his time there, he contracted small pox, and as a result, eventually developed immunity against the deadly disease.

Years later when the American troops were being decimated by small pox, their leader George Washington remained healthy and able to still lead.  In fact, Washington’s understanding of small pox immunity resulted in him ordering widespread inoculations of healthy soldiers to prevent further spread.  Some historians think this seemingly insignificant piece of the American Revolutionary War was vital to our eventual success.

Who would have thought that a two-month time period and sickness from a disease could potentially result in such drastic outcomes?  It’s like that butterfly flapping its wings in Africa causing weather pattern changes in Alaska.  None of us live truly independent and immune from the actions of others.  Similarly, every choice we make impacts others in ways we cannot begin to imagine.

Consider a still, smooth pond.  Toss a tiny pebble into the pond and immediately the entire pond is effected as the water ripples out in larger and larger concentric circles.

That illness you’re struggling with may years later help save hundreds of lives.  The person you meet in the line at the grocery store may later prove to be an important connection.  The book you read, the music you listen to, the clothes you buy, the house you live in…all are tiny pebbles being tossed into a still, smooth pond.  We don’t know what repercussions and results may come.  But we do know that the Lord promises to work all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

Someone once said that coincidence is really nothing more than when God chooses to remain anonymous.  There are no coincidences in this life.  Our activities, friends, connections – they can all be used by the Lord.  Wherever you’re at today, take heart and be encouraged!  While George Washington lay sick in bed for three weeks, with scar marks that persisted for the remainder of his life, he probably never considered how this challenge would be used to potentially win a war!

  • Remarkable yet these seeming insignificant tidbits of anecdotal happenstances illustrate that our God reigns. Of course we see the big ticket items such as His providential preservation of a Revolutionary army in the field but could miss the key item of Gen. Washington’s immunity to further smallpox infection. The nations are insignificant actors in the field of Salvation history yet the great & awesome God moves men’s hearts to act according to His will which will triumph over all persons and things, resulting in the eternal amplification of the glory of the risen Lord Jesus.