Tuesday, September 5, 2017
Is anyone in America listening? They should be, because God is speaking. Consider these two ongoing events: Yesterday evening we heard on the news that Interstate 84 was closed due to wild fire in the Columbia River Gorge. Imagine the traffic snarl-up that caused! I haven’t checked this morning to see reports, but it doesn’t take much to be grateful I wasn’t traveling along that route, headed home from a Labor Day camping trip. Traffic through the Gorge is always heavy and on Labor Day evening it is going to be especially thick. Throw a road block into that mix and it doesn’t look pretty. Moving south, the devastation from tropical storm Harvey is astounding. I got blindsided by that one. After all, it’s not like Texas hasn’t had to deal with tropical storms before. During the lead-up I was sure they would be ready to handle it, but how can anyone be ready for a storm that exceeds all expectations by so many factors? The devastation is horrendous and it will take years to rebuild. Here in the West the wildfires are so big and so widespread that we simply can’t deal with them. It hits close to home for Ruth and I. Our hearts hurt for our Montana friends who have been evacuated or are preparing to evacuate. These are people we know and places we have lived. It makes the hardship of a natural disaster real.
So, what’s coming next? If one little wild fire can close down I-84, a major artery for the movement of goods inland from the Pacific coast, what else could happen? What if other events closed down the other major transport routes inland? What would happen to America then? We certainly aren’t prepared. Most of us live from day to day and rely on being able to run to the store every few days if we start running low on something. No transport routes equates to empty shelves in the store and that means empty cupboards and refrigerator in my home. Hurricane Irma is now category 5 – isn’t that a bad as it gets? Puerto Rico, a small slice of America we don’t hear much about, is directly in its path and Florida seems to be in its sights. What if Irma hits Florida and then turns north? The Southeast could be hit hard.
My point is this: It wouldn’t take very much, just a few more natural disasters, to bring America to her knees. Our emergency resources and our ability to rebuild – things we have relied on in the past, things that have made us feel invincible – could quickly and easily be overwhelmed and used up. What will we rely on then? The government? As things begin to wind down in Texas we’ll start hearing all the complaints about how the government just didn’t do enough to help. Americans these days seem to be convinced that if something goes wrong, the government will save them. What if the government can’t save us? Who will help us then? Certainly not the rest of the nations. They have their own set of issues to deal with. Who will help America?
Again I ask the question, is anyone listening? I ask that because I believe God is speaking to America. Step by step we have eliminated God from both our public discourse and our individual lives and He is quietly reaching back to us, inviting us to return to Him. You may think Harvey is anything but quiet, but much, much worse could have happened. We are suffering in the West from endless, thick smoke, evacuations and drought, but much worse could be happening. The fires and the storm aren’t worse because God’s grace rests on everyone. You don’t have to be a Christian to experience God’s grace. But when a person tells God he/she doesn’t want anything to do with Him, then He withdraws. I’ve had people tell me just that, kicking me out of their lives. Of course, I now simply leave them alone. I withdraw. God withdraws, too, when we tell Him we don’t want Him and when He steps back from you, His grace, His unmerited favor, pulls back with Him. We have told God we don’t want Him and gone on to live a national life that underscores our dislike for Him. So, He has withdrawn. That’s why storms like Harvey make it to the mainland and instead of being “just another storm” become unprecedented disasters. It is God’s grace that has helped us manage western wildfires in the past, but now they seem to have no limits. What will Irma be like? Perhaps our prayers will turn that storm aside or lessen its fury, but what will be next? How will we handle the next big earthquake? Will it be over the top on the Richter Scale or limited in how much damage it does? What if disasters get stacked, happening one right after the other? God’s grace determines the answer to that question.
We must return to God! If we don’t, things like the disasters we’re fighting through right now will only get worse and more frequent. The hard part is that any time a person wants to return to God they have to repent! Repentance has two features: 1) Sincere regret coupled with apology and 2) turning away from your sin and walking the other direction. That’s how it works on a personal level and it’s exactly the same on the national scale. America needs to apologize to the God who founded her and then turn away from the sins and sinful practices we have embraced. Here’s a short list of America’s wrongs:
- We need to put God back in our public schools and teach our children about Him. Our Christian teachers need to be allowed to talk about Christ and read the Bible to their classes.
- Millions of babies are killed every year by abortion. That practice needs to be ended and abortionists imprisoned.
- We have let the LBGT people bully and manipulate us into accepting their lifestyle as good. It is not. We need to turn away from it. Reinstating marriage as an exclusively heterosexual institution would be a good start.
- Rampant feminism has destroyed millions of marriages and ruined the lives of countless women. Jezebel runs unrestrained across the land. Jesus had some hard things to say about Jezebel in Revelation 2:20-23. We had best heed Him.
This list, of course, could get really long, yet God is still offering us forgiveness and restoration. His grace can be restored and He will even help us rebuild. We simply need to repent in a real and lasting way.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9