Finding God can be difficult even in times of joy. But consider the times — and profound sorrows — of Abraham Lincoln. His beloved mother died a painful death before Abe’s tenth birthday. His father was abusive when the man wasn’t absent entirely. Abraham was so beset by depression that he neared suicide on numerous occasions. He lost one son when the boy was the tender age of three. A second was eleven when he died, and this was less than a year after Lincoln assumed the presidency of a fractured nation. Despite his trials — or perhaps because of them — Lincoln yearned for comfort beyond the mortal world. He took counsel with ministers.
He read voluminously. And he prayed. Still, it is not easy to number Lincoln among the saints. He never joined a church and he seldom spoke of Jesus Christ. Even during his lifetime, his religious statements were greeted with skepticism. And yet the evidence indicates that Lincoln did indeed struggle to find a life-changing faith, to follow the deathbed charge of the mother he adored: “Worship God.” He struggled, too, with God’s will in the great war, the war between brothers Lincoln was unable to prevent.
These wrestlings led to his benevolent treatment of his former enemies and ultimately to the sentiments he expressed in the greatest of American sermons, Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address. Lincoln’s Battle With God will challenge both of the accepted views of the great man’s faith: the atheist Lincoln and the passionately religious Lincoln. Stephen Mansfield presents a Lincoln ever on a journey of faith, a journey cut short by an assassin and obscured by scholarly bias and conflicting evidence. Abraham Lincoln’s spiritual journey offers profound insight into the man who is today perceived as nearly the soul of America. His spiritual battles are not unlike those of our nation, which makes Lincoln’s story of faith as told in this marvelous book a story vital for our times and perhaps vital for our souls, as well.