Despite every attempt to hide, deny, or resist the truth, I must confess that I am spoiled—rotten. I’m not talking about the way my parents sacrificed to give me a great education and a rich childhood. I’m not even talking about the way my husband pretty much gives me whatever I want (since I happen to want little we couldn’t afford). No, I’m talking about a much broader picture. I live in one of the richest countries in the world—and it’s bankrupt. Morally, socially, fiscally, politically, and spiritually—my beloved United States of America is bankrupt.
I know what I believe the solution to be. I also do not believe anyone has the guts to do it—myself included. We need to lose our cushy lifestyles and pay the price to fix the mess we’ve allowed our country to get into. We need to make sacrifices that none of us are willing to make. I’m holding my hand s out, trying to push away the inevitable just as much as the next person.
Thanks to the sequester, my husband is going to be paying the price with the upcoming furlough—six months of 20% income loss. A lot of government employees are complaining that the rest of the country isn’t losing their income. It makes me want to scream. Do they not realize that when all the government employees in this country stop spending 20% of their income, it’s going to affect the rest of the country? That’s 20% less eating out. Twenty percent less gas purchased. Luxuries cut. We’re already thinking about things like cutting DirecTV, cutting unlimited long-distance service, and watching our food expenditures. We spend an insane amount of money on food.
But you know what? That’s about the extent of my willingness to “suffer.” I don’t want to have to make truly “painful” choices. You see, to make true and lasting changes, we’re going to have to really suck it up. And that’s where I think we’re going to have to quit looking at this as a quick fix and really look at what is wrong with America.
We’re soft. We’re really soft. We think we deserve to have it easy because two hundred fifty years ago, someone died to give us freedom from oppression. Hogwash. We’ve taken, and taken, and taken until we’ve glutted ourselves on our “rights” and we’ve borrowed the money to do it. We’ve ignored God, redefined Him to whatever is politically and socially correct this week, and too often decided we simply don’t care what He says or thinks.
Well, it does matter. All of it matters. The fact is, God is on the throne, and no matter what we want Him to think or do, He will decide what happens to us. I think of Second Chronicles… “If My people…” Do if I call myself “His?” Then this applies to me. “Who are called by MY name…” Ahem. Yep, that’s me. “Would humble themselves…” Ahem. That means I’m proud. I need to HUMBLE myself. “And pray.” (Not my strong suit). “And seek MY face.” Okay then. In other words, put myself before the Lord and seek HIS will for this country. Not mine, not the founding fathers, not current politicians, GOD’s will… even though this isn’t a theocracy, this is MY job as a Christian. An atheist or a Buddhist would do something different. AND THAT IS OKAY.
Here’s where it hurts. “And turn from their wicked ways.” I always feel like this doesn’t apply to me. I’m not wicked. I’ve been washed clean of wickedness. I obey the laws, I try to obey the Lord (why is it so much easier to obey the speed limit when I’m late than it is to obey the Lord when He says not to grumble about the speed limit?), and all those lovely things that make me look so much less wicked than say a murderer. Ahem. God says I need to turn from MY wicked ways. Period. I don’t need to look at anyone else’s, I need to look at mine and TURN. Period.
Here’s where we start balking. It says, “Then will I hear from heaven and forgive their sins and HEAL THEIR LAND.”
We like to pretend that He hasn’t given us a job to do. THEN. That word then kills me every time. First this (humble, pray, seek, turn) and THEN this (hear, forgive, heal). It’s not comfortable for me. God is a God Whose mercies rain on the just and the unjust. His love is saturated with grace. Nothing we can do can merit it. All these things are true. But when we’re looking for the saving of our nation, it seems to say, “Look out. I demand this of you. When that is done, this is what I will do.”
Don’t get me wrong. I know this was written to a specific people at a specific time. But the Lord is the same yesterday, today, and forever. This is not “old law” that has been fulfilled. We’re not reading about animal sacrifices that are a shadow of Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice. We’re talking about something that has been repeated in the New Testament here. We’re God’s people. We’re named for Christ when we call ourselves Christians. We’re to “humble ourselves in the sight of the Lord,” and “pray without ceasing,” and “repent and turn to God.” All of those things are required of us period.
So what would happen if we did? What would happen if just the Christians did what God tells them to and didn’t focus so much on how the rest of the world is blowing it? Yeah. That could be pretty amazing. Scary amazing.
And James 4:17 tells me that I have no excuse whatsoever for not doing it. I know the right thing to do. I know it. If I don’t, it’s sin. Period.
So what on earth is this whole rigmarole about anyway? Apparently, it’s a call to me to repent. Ouch.