Woke up to a thick fog outside this morning…
It seems to reflect how many of us may feel on this particular Inauguration weekend.
Where are we really heading in our country? What do we believe anymore? What are we willing to stand up for?
My heart, already burdened with so many unknowns in our nation’s future, can’t help but to search for a verse to somehow make sense of things. Though there’s not one quick solution, there are words that bring hope – words that bring truth – and words that bring warning.
The questions continue to beg for answers. Do we really want to hear? What is God’s heart? Is it easier to just go with the flow out of fear of public humiliation? Should we all just keep our mouths shut? Are we allowed to peaceably disagree anymore?
Pastor Louie Giglio, pastor of Passion City Church in Atlanta, who has done incredible ministry work for the poor and needy around the world, as well as igniting a huge annual worship event for young people called Passion, withdraws from praying at the Inauguration, due to a group who found a sermon preached about 15 years ago which they did not feel was “inclusive of all” in our nation. Hobby Lobby and Chick-Fil-A, two amazing businesses that stand on Christian beliefs and family values, have found themselves under much scrutiny and persecution in recent months. I continue to be astounded – yet probably should not be surprised anymore. I wonder why we can’t just simply disagree with another’s view and still live in peace with one another? Why must we be represented as “unreasonable,” as “intolerant,” as “unloving?”
My thoughts go back to a quote I read some time ago from Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church, “Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”
So, where does that leave us today? Maybe we can start here – again – and keep moving forward…
1. We can trust that He desires to lead us – to show us the way to walk.
“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21
2. We can believe Him to show us the way, yet understand that He gives us the ability to choose our path.
“The Lord said to his people, “Stand at the crossroads and look. Ask for the ancient paths and where the best road is. Walk in it, and you will live in peace. But they said, “No, we will not!” Jeremiah 6:16
3. We can listen to His voice, and respond. He has a word for “us” – those who are “called by His name” – it’s not really a word to the entire world – it’s a personal word – to His people. Have we acknowledged it? Do we care? The healing and restoration of “our” land is dependent on our obedience to Him.
“Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
4. We can pray for those in authority over us. Whether or not we agree with their decisions should never determine whether or not we will choose to pray for them. We so need God to stir their hearts, to give them wisdom, to be close to them as they lead our nation.
“A nation without God’s guidance is a nation without order. Happy are those who keep God’s law.” Proverbs 29:18
“Without wise leadership, a nation falls, there is safety in having many advisers.” Proverbs 11:14
5. We can honor God’s Word to “submit” to those in authority over us. What does that mean? “to yield to, to come under the authority of another.” Why? Because “all authority comes from God,” and He has placed them in those positions, for whatever reasons we may or may not understand. This does not mean that we cannot have a voice or that we must even necessarily agree with everything our leaders say or do. It means that we recognize their authority was placed there by God, and we respect both that truth and their position of leadership.
“Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.” Romans 13:1
6. We can remember God’s word to us is to “respect” others, to “love” others, but to “fear” Him alone. Sometimes we get that backwards.
“For the Lord’s sake, respect all human authority—whether the king as head of state, or the officials he has appointed…It is God’s will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you. For you are free, yet you are God’s slaves, so don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil. Respect everyone, and love your Christian brothers and sisters. Fear God, and respect the king.” 1 Peter 2:13, 15-17
7. We can believe that God holds our future and has good things in store for His people.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
8. We can decide today – nail it down again – how we will lead our families, and who we will choose to serve.
“Choose for yourselves whom you will serve…but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15
As Pastor Brian Tubbs wrote, “Once a society determines that certain viewpoints and/or expressions of certain viewpoints are not to be tolerated, freedom begins to die. Bible-believing Christians who embrace traditional views…are facing legal, social, economic, and political consequences for those views. And these consequences are being dished out in the guise of tolerance and diversity.”
Wake up America! We are wise to see through the fog. It may be more clear than we at first thought. This is not the end – only the beginning. We need Him – desperately. Come back to Him. Remain strong in Him.
(photo source from University of Houston’s – fog in the woods)