Are you grieving over our nation?
Truth be known, I have spent parts of certain days recently feeling a great deal of heaviness about coronavirus and its impact on us as a nation. I'm sure some of that grief arises from self-pity--not being able to live my "normal" life.
But I believe that most of it relates to how God has wired me. I hate broken things! Since I was very young, I simply feel compelled to fix anything that doesn't work right. And, can we agree that America is badly broken?
I love our nation. While far from perfect, it has truly been a source of blessing to millions here and abroad. It has sent the Gospel to the farthest reaches of the globe and has ministered to the needs of hurting people virtually everywhere. The U.S. has stood against evil empires in other parts of the world. But now all is hanging in the balance. America seems broken almost beyond repair. I feel this hurt deeply; I so want it fixed!
People are getting sick, and many are dying from the virus. Who knows if and when "normal" will come back? Our national debt, that was already far too great, has now grown seemingly well beyond the place of no return. Our economy is in major free fall.
But, worst of all, we continue to have such internal division and strife in our land. Sadly, it is increasingly reminiscent of the time around the American Civil War in the 1860s.
None of us alive today lived during that grievous time in our nation's history. But just imagine how horrific it would feel to know that a total of 620,000 American young men in the prime of their lives would be killed in the Civil War! Talk about something broken needing repair! Imagine seeing your beloved nation split in two like that!
As I was praying recently about America, God reminded me of the words our dear President Abraham Lincoln penned in 1863 as he analyzed the reasons God had sovereignly allowed the Civil War to happen. While he could have pointed the finger of blame at those supporting slavery, he essentially said all Americans stand guilty of an even deeper sin. I feel very strongly that what he said then applies to America's divisive and sad situation today:
"And whereas it is the duty of nations as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions, in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.
"And, insomuch as we know that, by His divine law, nations like individuals are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war, which now desolates the land, may be but a punishment, inflicted upon us, for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole People? We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!
"It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness." (Abraham Lincoln, calling for a day of humiliation, fasting and prayer, April 30, 1863)
Just as our American ancestors did over 100 years ago, we too in our day have tragically forgotten God. Yes, we have the slogan "In God We Trust" written on our coins and dollar bills, but on all too few American hearts.
We have idols of technology, sports, leisure, money. We kill over 2,000 unborn babies "legally" every day in our land. We produce and consume pornography in great quantities. For many Christians, God is just one of their many interests, rather than the true center of their hearts and lives.
We could go on and on. But you get the point.
Friends, we need to do similarly to what Lincoln called for in 1863 and what God specifically calls us to do in 2 Chronicles 7:13-14,
“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people [coronavirus?], if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land."
Will you pray we hear the message God is shouting to us? Before it is too late and God sends the U.S. to the dustbin of history along with the myriad of other nations in human history that did not heed God's warning?
Thank you for joining a growing group of American Christ-followers who are humbly taking this huge burden to God!