Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Does America Need God?

During September 1861 President Abraham Lincoln signed a proclamation calling for a national observance of "public humiliation, prayer and fasting." Why? Months earlier the Union troops came under fire at Fort Sumter sending the teetering nation into a bloody civil war. Lincoln discerned the days ahead would be long, dark and critical for the future of America. He urged his fellow countrymen to offer "fervent supplications to Almighty God for the safety and welfare of these States, His blessings on their arms, and a speedy restoration of peace." The President knew he needed power and wisdom beyond himself. He knew only the God of heaven and earth could save his divided nation.

Lincoln’s approach to a national crisis is much different than the modern era. Today’s leaders respond to a crisis by urging citizens to "rebuild", "not quit", promising to "bring justice" and "whatever resources are needed." It is a response that trusts in the people and government to overcome with no mention of the need for God or the problem of evil.

During these times it appears motivational and inspiring to urge people onward reminding them of the pioneering, self-reliant American spirit in our country’s history. Even so, is that really our best way to respond to tragedy, natural disasters, war, crime, economic turmoil and political divides?

One army faced great odds as they lined up for battle yet they succeeded. The reason for their success was based on who they trusted in. The Bible says "The men of Judah prevailed, because they relied on the Lord" (2 Chronicles 13:18). Almighty God is the one who raises up nations and allows them to crumble. We think too highly of ourselves if we believe America’s future rests in our hands alone. It reveals a national arrogance. The Scriptures say, "For God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble" (1 Peter 5:6). During crises we do not need God’s opposition, rather we need His grace. 

There is only one being who is powerful enough to rescue America, Almighty God. When our nation faces crises may our leaders and a humble remnant bow before the Most High with unwavering faith and seek His intervention. May God Himself be our nation’s hope for today.