Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Where Is God?

Often one of the most frequent reactions to a disaster is, “Where was God?” That was asked on 9/11, and it was asked which Katrina struck the Gulf Coast. I’m sure it’s also asked in many other personal and large tragedies. I have no doubt that as the economic times get tougher, many will be asking that same question, “Where is God?”

I believe our nation has been especially blessed and has been used by God throughout its short history. We’ve had a mix of people from all over the world that have blended together reasonably well. We are united by one common language that anybody coming to these shores understands they will have to learn in order to thrive. This country has not been hindered by a caste system or other artificial barriers to success, with the rather large exceptions of race and usually first and often second generation immigrants.

We’ve been blessed with natural resources, rich farmland, and a government that was designed to be about the best one ever designed by man (flawed not so much by design as by the sinful people who are in charge of it). We have a constitution that guarantees certain inalienable rights (although some of those rights are being eroded thanks to ungodly court decisions).

Our country has been used by God as a haven for those suffering religious and other kinds of persecution; as a power to ultimately bring to a conclusion two world wars; as an example of how a nation should operate; as a base for sending missionaries to the rest of the world; as a source of monetary aid to struggling developing countries; and as a protective force for Israel.

In the past 60 years, we have been progressively turning our back on the God of our Fathers, the God under which the country was founded (“one nation, under God…”). While we probably have the highest percentage of regular church attendance of any nation (which is commendable), in fact we as a nation are moving further and further away from God and biblical principles. We see this in our trashy culture which we the people support by buying or watching what the morally bankrupt entertainment industry produces. We see it in our “liberal” laws and in court cases. Read what Jesus said to the church in Laodicea in Revelation 3:14-17; 19-20

“And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the origin of God's creation:

“I know your works; you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spit you out of my mouth. For you say, 'I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing.' You do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked...

“I reprove and discipline those whom I love. Be earnest, therefore, and repent.”

That could be written for us today in the United States, as could the following passage from 2 Chronicles 7:13-15, where God tells his people Israel:

When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place. NRSV

I believe we are entering the years of the locust in that we will be soon facing the worst economic times since The Great Depression of the 1930s. Some economic experts are saying it will be worse than the 1930s in that we will have a significant loss of buying power (i.e., inflation) accompanied by unemployment and the other problems that usually are part of an economic downturn. I’m hoping that as a result of that economic hardship, people will return to God and this nation will once again be blessed and used of God. We also have the promise in Joel 2:25a: I will repay you for the years that the swarming locust has eaten… NRSV

So if you ask, “Where is God?” I can tell you God is always where he’s always been. We are the ones who moved. I encourage you to get back into right relationship with God now.

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