“Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just.”
God’s no quitter. But He has been known to give up, never because He’s weak, but because sometimes, He’s just done.
So when the human race went from bad to worse in Genesis, He warned, “My Spirit will not always strive with man.” (Genesis 6:3) He meant that; just ask anyone who missed the boat.
Or check with the prophets, who spoke for Him to no avail, pleading with a once-great nation to remember not only its roots, but the God who laid those roots. They refused, so He said, “Have it your way”, and they did.
Then there’s Jesus, lamenting over Jerusalem, saying He had so much for them but, since they rejected both it and Him, He’d withdraw until they would finally and irrevocably acknowledge Him. (Luke 13:34-35)
As You Wish
Paul wrote about something similar when he described idolatrous Gentiles rejecting their Creator, saying to them, paradoxically, “Thy will be done.” (Romans 1:24-28)
God gave up or, strictly speaking, God gave them up. He didn’t cause them to become reprobate, He only acknowledged their preference and said, “Knock yourselves out. I made your free will as surely as I made you, so as you wish, folks. What you want, you’ll have.”
Looking around in horror at what’s become (and is becoming) of such a great nation, it’s hard for me to believe He hasn’t said that very thing to America. Yet America, given up to her own ways, insists on remaining
We may not realize that when God gives up on people, they won’t necessarily get a pink slip.
Judgment can begin in silence, an invisible and terrible decision to withdraw, allowing people their own course. Clueless that they’ve been “given up”, they may go on functioning like Samson, living in rebellion, continuing to presume upon divine protection, and wholly unaware that both the Lord and His favor have departed. (Judges 16:20)
No Longer Under God? Then No Longer Indivisible
For perspective’s sake let’s remember the United States is not, and never has been, the Church. That’s why calling us a “Christian nation” never squared with me, because not everyone in the country is saved, we’ve never been governed by pastors and elders, and thankfully, we’re not a theocracy.
Besides which, no one, no matter how patriotic, will deny our historic offenses like slavery, abortion, or segregation, nor our countless lessor but still serious mistakes. So while we’ve been hugely influenced by Christianity, the “Christian nation” label just doesn’t work.
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Yet the historic influence of Christianity over America’s formation and, until recently, its policies, is undeniable. For that reason, God has blessed us, because when individuals or nations acknowledge Him, and commit themselves (however imperfectly) to His principles, they’ll prosper. They’ll be blessed.
Having been so blessed, if they’re foolish enough to reject what made them great, what else can they expect but judgement? Not the fire-from-heaven sort, but the “have it your way” sort, which is more subtle than flames, but destructive all the same.
That’s why, puzzled as I am by a lot of current events, I’m also thinking to myself, “Well, what did you expect?”
After all, if we’re no longer under God, then we’re also no longer under His guidance, direction, and restraining hand. Apart from that restraint, why shouldn’t all hell break loose?
Few could deny that it has. Look at our streets becoming playgrounds for rioting thugs. Look at the new trend towards celebrating, not just committing, the murder of the unborn. Look at the abuse of authority, the governmental overreach, the cancellations of freedom of speech and religion, coupled with an increasing license to intimidate and destroy.
Look for plagues, too, both medical and psychological, as people are infected with viruses, fear, and a deepening mistrust of just about
Some say all of this will bring down judgement, but I’d say it’s the evidence, not the cause. The wickedness and lawlessness of so many against so many, and the cowardly refusal of the other “so many” to resist them, tells me not that God will judge, but that He is judging.
Being neither prophet nor fortune teller, I could be completely off base here. So maybe I’m despairing when I should be hoping because, after all, weren’t Mary and Martha already mourning their dead brother when Jesus showed up to raise what was already dead and entombed? (John 11:17-25) There could be a similar resurrection waiting for the US, making me a premature alarmist. Here’s hoping.
Upon THIS Rock, Not the Plymouth One
But whether it’s over for America, or if judgement is still on hold, one thing is certain: God never gives up on His church. The gates of hell won’t prevail against Her (Matthew 16:18) and the principles He set in place to govern and guide her are effective and unchanging. Nations do rise and fall, but it will never be over for the Body of Christ, which has our eternal allegiance and everlasting membership.
That’s where my thinking has been shifting lately: to the fact that, regardless of who’s sitting in the Oval Office come January, I can joyfully be part of what He wants to do with and in His church, while still loving my neighbor and being a good citizen.
Which means doing my part, contributing as God gives me ability, honoring the authorities and the system I work within, obeying even when it’s inconvenient, attempting to change things when I can, and defying only when conscience demands me to.
There’s joy in that, and I don’t say that glibly. Watching what was great decay from within, and become entirely more vulnerable as a result, is hard. But joy can still be found in what we have as believers which wasn’t granted by men and can’t be taken away.
Weeping in Hope
I think many of us are beginning to feel the same way. We’ve watched –sometimes horrified; sometimes unaware of the seriousness – while America slid into decay. Many of our people have given themselves permission to be influenced or intimidated by the ungodly, to indulge in ungodliness itself, and to forget the God they used to identify themselves in a pledge to be under.
None of which tempts me to quit participating, voting, speaking, fighting a good fight, and doing what can be done. I can’t afford Elijah’s error of thinking there are no true believers left (I Kings 19:10) nor can I be arrogant enough to forget there are still plenty of good, reasonable citizens out there. There’s enough craziness to sound an alarm over, but not quite enough to warrant a white flag.
So I suppose we can sing a victory song and a lament at the same time. But when it comes to the company we’re in while lamenting, we could
I remember reading Corrie ten Boom’s autobiography The Hiding Place forty-five years ago, and one passage in particular stands out today.
Just before the Germans invaded her country, Corrie, her sister, and their father listened to a Dutch leader on the radio, who promised that as World War II progressed, Holland’s neutrality would be respected, and Dutch citizens would remain unaffected.
Mr. Ten Boom was furious about the false promises being made, railing at the naivete of that leader, and insisting that people shouldn’t paint a rosy picture when a stern warning was really called for.
But then he calmed down, stamped out his cigar, turned to his daughters, and said:
“Oh my dears, I am sorry for the Dutchmen who don’t know the power of God. Because we will be beaten. But He will not.”
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