Our nation is diving headlong into the murky waters of uncertainty. There is no doubt that we are a nation divided. In all honesty, Washington looks more like a giant sandbox with both political parties playing the part of a two year old throwing a temper tantrum because the other won’t share the shovel or has knocked down their sand castle. The truth of the matter is if they don’t soon get on the same page our country will find itself in a place it has never been.
The church in this country is also in desperate times. Thom Rainer, President of Lifeway, notes that the largest generation in our country, the millennials (those born from 1978-200), are the most lost in our country when it comes to a relationship with Christ. In fact Rainer states that only 1 out of 10 millennials claim to be Christian. Countless numbers of articles come into my inbox almost every day speaking to this issue of how do we reclaim America for Christ and reach this generation. Both the political and ecclesiastical challenges have many worried, many pointing fingers and assigning blame, and people acting like “Chicken Little” screaming “the sky is falling, the sky is falling.” It has us in desperation mode, which I will submit to you is actually a good thing.
Israel had a similar experience in their history. They had a king by the name of Jehoshaphat. He was in charge of the southern kingdom, Judah. There were three groups of people who were coming against Judah. 2 Chronicles 20 records that “Jehoshaphat was afraid.” Now it is one thing for the people to be afraid, but it is another for the king to be afraid as well as admit that he is afraid. That would tell me the situation was pretty bad. In his desperation Jehoshaphat prayed and during that prayer he said something that I believe many in Washington and in the church would say today (or at least should). It is recorded in the end of 2 Chronicles 20:12, “neither know we what to do.” Here is a king that has the whole nation looking to him for answers, expecting him to have a great plan to save the nation, and all he can do is say “I don’t know what to do.” I imagine if Gallup polling on job approval rating was around in Jehoshaphat’s day his rating would be lower than our current President’s and Congress’. But in reality that was the best thing he could have admitted. Proverbs 14:12 tells us “there is a way that seems right to man, but the end is destruction.” Our greatest problem as a country and even the church is that we have looked to people to solve our problems. The problem is, it is the people that created these problems in the first place. Ronnie Floyd writes in his book, “The Power of Praying and Fasting,” “He wants to do something mighty in our lives, and that’s why He provides us with moments of desperation–to push us toward Him” (p. 17).
I believe with all my heart that God has let the United States as well as the church in the United States get to these points, not as an act of judgment (though it is a form of judgment), but rather to get our attention and to draw us back to Him. Many people have this picture of a mean, vindictive God sitting up in heaven just waiting to punish us. Is God a God of judgment? Yes He is! But He is also a God of mercy, grace, and forgiveness. He allows things in our lives to show us that He is all we need. I love the quote by A.W. Tozer, “we will not realize that God is all we need, until He is all that we have.” What if the country goes through worse political and economical times, but it sparks a true national revival. Would it be worth it? What if the church got back to biblical principles and as a result suffered persecution, but in the end many people came to a saving relationship with Christ, would that be worth it? I believe in God’s mind it absolutely would be worth it, because He cares more about eternal things than temporary things. So yes our country and our churches are in a desperate situation, but I think this is exactly where God wants us and exactly where we need to be in order to gain a proper perspective on life, His perspective.
By His grace and through His strength may we live for Him