… and yet as the sun rises, foot must still reach soil.
I have asked Sharon to pen her thoughts, because she possesses a gift and can arrange words in a specifically splendid order, at the most difficult of times. Like now…. /SD
I’m aware that the terrible and real loss that had been suspected is now documented. The reports have now come back on the tests that were done to check for national malignancy. It’s Stage 4. There is no more maneuvering room for yet one more fallback position. There was an ugly line drawn across the page as darkness fell last night and a new chapter is under way.
The broad expansive joys of simply being an American seem to be dust. We know today for sure, if we weren’t sure of it before, that we are no longer the go-to nation. We are no longer a functioning Republic. I am painfully aware today that here in our new home, we are twenty-five miles as the crow flies from the physical “end of the Oregon trail.”
I’m aware that all the trouble in the world cannot hurt a man if it doesn’t get inside of him. Keeping this trouble external feels almost impossible…and yet that is the goal.
I’m aware that our present condition no longer reflects the historical blessings of God. It’s not difficult to understand that much of the reason for that is the institutionalized, legislated and formalized rejection of the presence and blessings of God–the latest blazing example being the Trinity of Votes in which the Democrat party loudly and publicly shouted their defiance against the Sovereign God.
I am numb. I can’t locate the reference right now, but there’s an Old Testament verse which says, “That which we feared has come upon us.” Today that is not a Scriptural quote for me. It’s a fact. That which we feared has come upon us.
I am angry. Unspeakably and righteously angry (as far as I am capable of righteous anger) at the willingness of a nation’s people determined to chase their baser instincts no matter what the cost to themselves and to others. I am not referencing “degrees of faith” here, for there are self-identified athiests who are patriotic Americans, and who do not chase base instincts and destruction.
I am accountable. In chapter 9:3-19 of Daniel, his prayer is recorded. Daniel was living in Babylon, captive and yet an employee of the conquering king. Here are excerpts of that prayer:
O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments, we have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts…
O Lord, righteousness belongs to You, but to us shame of face, as it is this day–to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, those near and those far off in all the countries to which You have driven them, because of the unfaithfulness which they have committed against You.
O Lord, to us belongs shame of face, to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, because we have sinned against You. To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against Him.
….O my God, incline Your ear and hear;…for we do not present our supplications before You because of our righteous deeds, but because of Your great mercies. O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act!
Two points: Daniel had never personally participated in any great sins and wickedness, and yet here he stands before God, interceding for the nation, and he uses the humble “we” in identifying with the nation in both its sins and its needs.
Secondly, Israel was (and still is) the covenant-related-to-God-nation, the only nation on the face of the earth so covenanted. We have the privilege of covenant with God as individuals; only Israel has covenant as a nation. However, since our Founders depended on and called upon Jehovah God for His mercies and blessings as they founded this nation, it is clear that our nation has been uniquely blessed specifically because God’s blessing was sought.
There’s another example of this kind of “identifying with the nation” prayer for mercy in the first chapter of Nehemiah.
As a member of this nation that has sinned against God greatly, in broad daylight, for decades, I am not given the option of lifting my skirts and standing prissily aside, suggesting to the Sovereign, Thrice-Holy God: “GIT ‘EM!” I don’t have that option.
I am calm at the core. I am deeply distressed, but calm because of what I know to be true. I know that the Sovereign God is willing to relate to me personally, in a completely reality-based way.
I know that He is willing to equip me to identify what is so. He is willing to assist me in identifying what I am responsible for, identifying what I have control over. These things require that I exercise faith, that I participate with Him in receiving the clear thinking and stability He gives. Thinking requires a willingness to do the work.
Thinking does require effort and is not always easy–that’s why so many don’t want to do it. It requires effort for me. Today requires that I exercise the faith He has given me, exercise that faith in the present moment–which means it also requires my time.
Exercising faith and walking by faith is not a warm fuzzy chosen in lieu of reality.
I Know What I Must Do
I will be the go-to person for my family.
I will exercise the spiritual disciplines of Scripture-reading and prayer so that I am adequately sustained for what lies ahead. I will stand by faith. In Isaiah 7:9, the prophet is speaking to wicked King Ahaz and warns him, “If you do not stand in the faith you have, you will not stand at all.” The power of faith is such that it only takes mustard-seed-size to get the job done. I must stand in the faith I have.
I will guard against either generalizing or personalizing events past, present or future.
Generalizing trouble would be that propensity to take a limited trouble and extend it to my whole life, refusing to believe anything good or anything hopeful. There is a very rational reason that the Apostle Paul, writing from prison to a people who were living under the thumb of Roman cruelties, said to them in Philippians 4:8,
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things.
Personalizing trouble focuses greater conflict and trauma on my personal weaknesses, which are fear and despair, and makes a weapon out of reality, pounding me into depression, emotional anger and flailing around, wasting energy and time, and being of no good use to anyone around me.
~The end of the beginning~