Daniel Block tells us that God ways are mysterious, but they are not hidden. His activity in regard to nations is public and observable. The problem is we draw incorrect conclusions. For instance, Israel started to think that Yahweh’s primary role was to cater to their needs. The exile of 586 BC created a crisis of faith. They thought God was not being faithful to his covenant when in fact their disaster was the result of their own idolatrous sin and rebellion.
In 1814, during the War of 1812, Brigadier General William Henry Winder suggested to the U.S. Secretary of War, John Armstrong, that about 3000 men should be called up and placed between Baltimore and Washington City (DC). Armstrong scoffed and ignored General Winder. President James Madison directed Armstrong to stockpile military supplies and prepare for a possible British invasion. Armstrong did nothing because he believed Washington City would never be the object of an attack. He absolutely refused to strengthen the capital’s defenses. Do you know what happened? On August 24, 1814, British troops marched on Washington, captured it, and burned it. This British occupation lasted 26 hours and included the burning of the White House, the U.S. Capital, the Library of Congress, and other public buildings. Since the Revolutionary War this was the only time that a foreign nation occupied our nation’s capital.
It is quite easy to draw incorrect conclusions as to why this happened in 1814. It is equally easy to mistake the reasons for events happening today in our nation. God ways are mysterious, but not hidden.