As we head into Memorial Day weekend it is a good time to think about where we are as a nation. What a massive contrast we have before us: those who gave all for our country versus those who are doing their best to destroy it. I’ve been studying Ezekiel 22 (“stand in the gap”) for my sermon Sunday and see in that chapter how everyone failed–princes, preachers, and people. It is quite the similar situation in our day.
Perhaps you are like me–you are siding with God, you are disgusted with the direction of our nation, you understand the concept of judgment, you still trust the Lord, and you want to stand in the gap. Even if all that is true, perhaps you also feel blindsided over the last two years. Perhaps you knew we were going downward, but wonder how we spiraled so suddenly. Go back to any part of our history and you will find serious problems and issues, but I can’t help but see the unique elements in these last two years. I’m comparing what I thought as it happened to trying now to process it collectively. Here are, to my mind, the highlights:
1. Ferguson and the New Race War
Of course we have had race issues in our country since the day our country was founded. The 1960s were a particularly ugly period in that regard. Still, there is a difference in that whether we would agree with the methods used to fight it or not, there were racial injustices in our country. With an elected black president and minorities in every facet of our world now, that is no longer the case. Now we have manufactured these injustices and have turned a large portion of our nation against the police. In thinking about where our country is going, I can’t help but thinking of a biography of Hitler I read last year. Hitler manufactured these race problems repeatedly.
2. The Confederate Flag and Rewriting History
We used to have more sense. We could appreciate our history and its good points without agreeing with its bad ones. Surely you are logical enough to realize that every American on the Confederate side did not have the slavery issue as his or her main point. For many, it was just about the fact that the region they lived in was at war. Many of them did not even own a slave themselves. For over a century we were able to be against slavery and yet appreciate the people on both sides of the conflict. Now we have revived the hate.
Of course people have long tried to make an issue here, but now the Confederate flag became almost criminal and confederate generals have even had the graves moved because they are suddenly a problem after 150 years where the corpses are now merely dust.
This problem is so much bigger than a flag. It is the legitimizing of rewriting history. Hitler was a master at rewriting history and finding issues that needed addressing that had not needed addressing before. That is an incredibly slippery slope.
3. The Anti-Gun Attack
We’ve had people trying to take our guns away for a long time, but we have never had those attacks to be so effective. The President with a straight face keeps saying guns are causing some of the mass shooting we have had, but the sad part is how many accept that illogical conclusion unquestioningly. The guns involved were already illegal and taking guns away from law-abiding citizens would have no bearing on it. A possible soon shift in our Supreme Court and the Second Amendment may be gone. I assure you there was no Second Amendment in Nazi Germany either.
4. Legalized Gay Marriage
This is the one I fear that has broken our backs. Romans 1 is why I believe that to be true. Can you believe that it was exactly 4 years ago that our President surprised us by merely announcing that he was in favor of it? I wrote about it then and felt that was a major turning point. Still, I’m no Prophet; I never dreamed we’d already be here. I know I’ve already written on it here and here, but time for reflection has not lessened my opinion of the magnitude of this issue in our country before the Lord. Hitler changed moral laws too (like what you could do to a Jewish person), but I think Old Testament warnings of judgment are even more appropiate here.
5. The Bathroom Fiasco
Maybe I’m just not perceptive enough, but this one really surprised me too. I wrote on this issue too in September 2013 over a few cases in the news, but I never dreamed that it would explode as it has. I have already written on it here and here as well, but a few weeks to think about it has not lessened my belief that we are in trouble. The Lord will protect His remnant, but the country I love has a grim future.
I’m not even sure I want to know what’s next.
I can’t help but think about another biography I read that also involved Nazi Germany. It was a fine one on Dietrich Bonhoeffer. One of things that stood out to me was how he couldn’t believe how few Christians spoke out against Hitler. He was thought by many as pessimistic until, of course, the tide of events made them all hurt. Then he was a prophet–at first an imprisoned one and then a dead one–but quite a prophet.
For me, I don’t want to be like those Christians in Nazi Germany. I’d rather be thought a pessimist now than a fool later. I also want to “stand in the gap.” Whatever happens, I do trust the Lord. The Old Testament prophets greatly trusted the Lord, but they greatly thundered the warnings too.
Please forgive all the links to old articles from my blog, but I wanted to show a timeline. I have thought about the bad direction of our country, but I have misjudged its rapidity repeatedly. That means that the warning (which the Lord always gave to His people) is not that we can predict exactly what will happen, but that ultimately my walk with the Lord is urgent and all I can really do about it when all is said and done.