I remember celebrating the Bicentennial in First Grade.
We always made a big deal out of Washington’s and Lincoln’s Birthdays. ( Before those holidays became today’s generic “President’s Day” ) I can remember various arts and crafts projects that included construction paper flags and LITERALLY “cutting and pasting” silhouettes of presidents. We had to memorize the Preamble to the Constitution in Middle School. Columbus was a figure to be admired. The Pilgrims weren’t considered the fathers of Colonialism, but seekers of freedom from religious persecution who made friends and ate Thanksgiving with the Indians. Statues in the park weren’t symbols of oppression. Book banning and censorship were the stuff of Nazi Germany, not America. There was ONE National Anthem, and no one would dare to sit it out. And it could never be imagined that an American president would say that America was NOT the best country in the world. Or that elected officials would stand on the side of those burning down cities.
I just find it hard to believe what I’m seeing. It breaks my heart that today’s young generation will never know the America I once knew, and that THIS America is their tragic baseline for “normal”.
How can we possibly make sense of it?
Maybe what we are experiencing today is God’s way of making us long even more for our heavenly home, and to make us want to take as many people with us as we possibly can. It has been said that America is a nearly impossible mission field. So many people here don’t recognize a need for a Savior, because so many here have so few “needs”. ( Camel through the eye of a needle come to mind? ) Is it possible that only in this “new” America, as freedom and prosperity become harder to attain, that people will recognize a desperate need for something more? We should be sharing the light of the gospel more and more with a world that is becoming increasingly darker, where some may for the first time be open to hearing about Christ. We know that no man seeks God, but could it be that as trials increase, God is preparing the soil for new hearts and minds to receive the Gospel? Only He knows.
These are dark days. However, I do know that nothing happens by accident. That God is sovereign over all the affairs of men. That those in political office are there because God has appointed them to be so. And we have been appointed to live in this time in history. That means He has something for us to do in this time in history. If He has something for us to do, then He will equip us to do it. Even if, before long, we may be forced underground to do so. I know it seems daunting, and so many of us are already tired. ( I’m recovering from Covid, so I’m tired on top of tired! ) While being sick, I recently re-watched The Lord of the Rings, and am reminded of Frodo’s lament in the mines of Moria, feeling the weight of the task that lay before him, and Gandalf’s answer that continues to grip me at my core, no matter how many times I watch it:
“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
Watch clip below:
Take heart Believers. We are not alone. We must help each other carry the load. It’s times like this that we begin to understand why the Church is meant to meet TOGETHER. Each person’s faith is individual, but we were never meant to live our faith apart from other believers. We are meant to bear each other’s burdens and cheer each other on toward the prize that awaits us, as weary as we are trying to get there. Is it any wonder that governments are so desperate for churches to remain closed? The Enemy WANTS those in the Church to be weary, isolated, and discouraged. And sadly that is where many of us are finding ourselves, be it politically, personally, socially, financially, or spiritually. But that isn’t God’s will for His people. And this isn’t something I am not constantly having to remind myself of.
In John 16:33 Jesus said, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have trouble. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
Psalm 34:4 “I sought the Lord and He heard me and delivered me from all of my fears.”
Psalm 34:17 “When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.”
But one of my favorite passages is in Romans 8, starting in verse 31:
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,“For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
No matter the struggle, we already know the outcome. We win in the end. We may not be on the path we would have chosen for ourselves. It’s certainly not one I ever expected to be on. And in today’s volatile political climate I fully anticipate things to become even darker. I ACHE for simpler times and for there to finally be peace instead of this constant chaos. But this is the time to which we have been appointed. And we can trust Him who has us in the palm of His hand. Not we as Americans, but as those have put faith in Christ. And we must decide what to do with the time that is given us.