At the close of his life, General Lee wrote to a friend in an effort to encourage him about the sad events they had endured. He acknowledged his failures and errors, but went on to say that in spite of these he did not despair of the future:
The truth is this: The march of Providence is so slow and our desires so impatient; the work of progress is so immense and our means of aiding it so feeble; the life of humanity is so long, that of an individual so brief, that we often see only the ebb of the advancing wave and are thus discouraged. It is history that teaches us to hope.
There it is. Lee understood that during certain seasons in the history of the world, the tide of God’s purposes appears to be receding rather than advancing. Our lives are often too short to see the ends we desire. Thus, it may be our lot to see only “the ebb of the advancing wave,” but we must remind ourselves that what we see is actually an advancing wave. “All things work together for good,” not just for the individual, but for the entirety of the Church of Jesus Christ. We have been assured by the One unto whom all authority in heaven and earth has been granted that “the gates of Hell shall not prevail” against the Church. (Matthew 16:18) Thus it is that history, because it is the record of His victory, teaches us to hope.
Steve Wilkins, Call of Duty: The Sterling Nobility of Robert E. Lee