I’m feeling a bit melancholy on this Saturday morning.
I probably shouldn’t feel this way, but I do. It’s a beautiful beginning to the day. It’s a very pleasant 60 degrees on my back porch. The sun is shining. Birds are chirping. Squirrels are scampering about the woods behind us. The deer are enjoying their morning “salt lick.” And the coffee is good.
Why don’t I feel in a celebratory mood?
I feel a bit like going to a birthday party honoring someone you have known and loved all your life. They’ve been your friend. Encouraged you. Helped you. And shared many benefits that have blessed your life.
But now they’ve changed. Their values are not the same. Their words, attitudes, and actions are such sharp divergence from your earliest memories. So much so you hardly recognize them anymore. They seem happy. They’re celebrating their new-found lifestyle, but it’s hard for you to accept. No, it’s impossible.
You still want to go to the party. You still love them. You feel indebted to them. But it’s bittersweet.
In some way that’s how I feel on this Independence Day that celebrates our country’s 239th birthday. America has changed. And is changing. And I think not for the better. A recent Rasmussen poll reveals that 67% of Americans feel the country is on “the wrong track.” Only 26% believe we’re headed the right direction.
Of course, being on “the wrong track” is rather subjective. No doubt, there are various reasons for that response. For some we’re on the wrong track economically. For others in terms of national defense. Or illegal immigration. Also ranking in the top ten of concerns is political corruption, health care, unemployment and the federal deficit.
All of those are legitimate issues, but my greatest concern is that we’re on the wrong track spiritually. Ronald Reagan was right when he said, “If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a nation gone under.”
Abraham Lincoln expressed it this way, “It is the duty of nations, as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God…and to recognize the sublime truth announced in the Holy Scriptures and proved by all history, that those nations only are blest whose God is the Lord.”
Sadly, we are rapidly moving farther away from God and the principles of His Word. And, we have been for a long time. Several years ago William Bennett observed “the real crisis of our time is spiritual.”
It’s probably not in good taste to offer advice at one’s birthday celebration, but since I’ve already broken protocol, let me share the counsel of the Lord to Solomon at the beginning of his reign. God made him a promise based on the faithfulness of the people.
“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 forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chron. 7:14)
If God is to hear us and heal the hurt of our nation, we must follow this Divine advice.
(1) Humble ourselves. “A man’s pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honor” (Prov. 29:23). We need to be reminded that God has blessed us. Our affluence, success and greatness is the result of a benevolent Creator.
(2) Pray. Humility leads to earnest prayer. Pride takes us away from prayer. Paul exhorted that we should pray for those in authority (1 Tim 2:1-2). More than ever prayer is needed today.
(3) Seek the Face of God. If our nation is to be healed, we must come to the great Physician for the spiritual balm so badly needed. Our 30th President Calvin Coolidge once said, “We do not need more national development, we need more spiritual development.”
(4) Turn from our Wicked Ways. It is not enough to know what is right, we must do it. We must turn from both the practice of sin and the approval and tolerance of it.
The difference in my birthday analogy is that my friend was one person. America is many. Christians cannot capitulate to our corrupt culture. Be salt. Be light. Be holy. Live for the Lord. Make your influence felt.
Don’t give up! It’s not too late to make a difference.
Now, I feel better. I think I’ll get dressed and attend the party!
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman