|Posted on July 6, 2010 at 10:17 AM|
The following are excerpts from a talk I shared in a church on the Fourth of July:
From the Declaration of Independence…
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
If we search for the central point of the Declaration of Independence, we will find the Creator God there. Likewise, if we search for the reason for the greatness of America, we will find faith in God there.
Alexis de Tocqueville was a French statesman, historian and social philosopher who traveled to America in the 1830s to search for the reasons for the unprecedented success of our new nation:
“I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers-and it was not there . . . in her fertile fields and boundless forests-and it was not there . . . in her rich mines and her vast world commerce-and it was not there . . . in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution-and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”
On the other hand, if we examine what happens to nations when they forget about God, we find blood and horror. Alexander Solzhenitsyn, a Nobel Prize winning Russian writer who searched for the reasons for the horrors and bloodshed that resulted from the Bolshevik Revolution said:
“More than half a century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of older people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.
If I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous Revolution that swallowed up some sixty million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.
The failings of human consciousness, deprived of its divine dimension, have been a determining factor in all the major crimes of this century. The first of these was World War I…It was a war when Europe, bursting with health and abundance, fell into a rage of self-mutilation. The only possible explanation for this war is a mental eclipse among the leaders of Europe due to their lost awareness of a Supreme Power above them.
Only a godless embitterment could have moved ostensibly Christian states to employ poison gas, a weapon so obviously beyond the limits of humanity.”
Alexis de Toqueville said the following about the French Revolution. It took place just after our Revolution, but produced horrible consequences:
“In France I had almost always seen the spirit of religion and the spirit of freedom marching in opposite directions. But in America I found they were intimately united and that they reigned in common over the same country.”
Most of the leaders of the French Revolution were Deists or atheists, and their quest for freedom without centering on God produced instead a “Reign of Terror,” where thousands died under the guillotine, and the end result was not freedom but a disastrous dictatorship under Napoleon that plunged the entire continent of Europe into years of bloody war -fare.
In America today, many people are struggling, having lost their jobs, their houses, their livelihoods. Many of those who are still working are putting in more hours for less pay, and many families are stressed. The economy has been struggling for almost two years now, a horrible oil spill is ruining our beaches on the Gulf coast, we’re fighting two wars, and the efforts of government alone to solve theses problems have not been successful.
It is important during difficult times like these to Hold on to God. It is important to resist the temptation to become bitter and blame others. If enough people in any nation become bitter and angry it eventually creates a whirlwind of negative energy that can be incredibly destructive; as Solzhenitsyn pointed out, the atheistic Revolution that took place in his country cost the lives of 60 million people.
On the other hand, when a nation Holds on to God, it creates a positive vibration that heals and uplifts and helps create solutions to national problems. How do we Hold on to God? In my humble opinion, the best way to hold on to God is to Pray and meditate. Another good way is to Study words of the Spirit, another way is to serve others with God in mind.
We’ve got to Hold on to God no matter what is going on in our lives. If things are going well, let us give thanks to God, and pray for those who are less fortunate. If things are not well, let us tell God. Even if we feel bitter and angry, we must tell God, and guidance will come to us from Spirit on how to deal with our anger and bitterness.
Many of us think that we cannot talk to God unless we say nice things — that God will get angry if we mention the things we are struggling with, that this makes us somehow unworthy of God’s attention. I would argue that these are precisely the times when it is most important for us to pray. As Jesus taught us, God is more concerned with the one lamb that has lost its way, than with 99 others that are safe.
We can cry out to God anytime, we can even yell and scream for God to help us. I promise you that the Heavenly Father/Mother won’t mind at all. It is a parent/child relationship, and parents hope that children will cry out to them in times of need.
As a parent myself, I can tell you how painful it was when I saw my own child struggling alone, trying to deal with difficult problems by himself, all the while ignoring the loving parents who were ready to assist him in any way they were called upon.
I think God must experience this frustration, too. It is a spiritual reality that God will not interfere in our lives unless we ask. Again, as Jesus said, “Knock. And the door will be opened to you.” Ask, and you will receive. A favorite church hymn has the words “God will take care of me.” This is so true. But it is also true that we may have to ask before the help comes.
As we celebrate the 234th birthday party for America, with all the food and the fireworks, let us not forget about God. Let us offer a prayer of gratitude. No matter how difficult things may be, we can always find something to be grateful for. As the old story goes – “I was just about to complain about the fact that I was barefoot because I had no shoes, until I met an old soldier who had no feet.”