I think sometimes we believe altering the course of significant aspects of life is like making a u-turn with an enormous cargo ship in the middle of the Pacific ocean. Crews have to be readied, switches have to be clicked, levers have to be pulled, and wheels have to be turned. Engines have to stop and be restarted in the other direction. Then, eventually, slowly, the giant vessel begins its change in course.
But as I think more about it, altering the course of the truly meaningful parts of life is nothing at all like that. At least it doesn’t need to be. It’s really more like turning around in a canoe in a small pond. All you have to do is stop paddling in one direction and start paddling in the other direction. And it doesn’t take much to do that. In fact, it really only takes two words.
Think about the power of these phrases to completely transform a situation, a circumstance, or even a relationship: “I do.” “You’re hired.” “I’m sorry.”
Just two words can conjure up emotions of love or hate, hope or despair, purpose or lack thereof. Those small, two-word phrases have power, healing, potential, and hope.
In recent days, a few two-word phrases have captured the attention of our nation and brought to light some serious problems in our nation. “Gay marriage.” “Hate crimes.” “Political correctness.”
There are more, I’m sure. But that’s not what I want to dive into. Here’s the real point:
As I sit here on my patio on July 4th, thinking about all that our country has done and been over the last 239 years, I’m in a weird state of mourning. Yes, mourning. I’m mourning for so much of what she used to be. We once stood as the city on the hill, a beacon of hope and light for the world. But today, I cannot confidently say that’s true. It certainly used to be. But I don’t know if the world looks at us as the ultimate symbol of what a nation could – and should – be. We find ourselves fighting each other, tearing each other apart. And for what? Because we have different points of view on certain topics? Isn’t that one of the things that made us great to begin with? Our diversity used to be a source of our strength. Now, it’s a cause for our division? It’s sad, really.
But here’s the thing. I don’t think it’s too late. I refuse to believe that our country cannot heal and move forward, stronger than ever. I will not cower to the idea that what we had before, what our forefathers bled and died for, is gone forever. I am still proud to call this country my home, in spite of our imperfections and shortcomings. There are still men and women – heroes – who fight for and defend what we have every single day. The foundation of our country may feel like it has been cracked, but it’s not broken.
But there’s another two-word phrase that we need to…no…that we MUST embrace if we ever hope to get back to what we once were. It’s a phrase that represents something that has been lacking in our nation for far too long by far too many people.
I desperately want this country to be great again. I think we can be. But we cannot deceive ourselves with the idea that we can do it without God. It simply won’t happen.
So this Fourth of July, celebrate what we have. Because there truly is no nation like ours in the world that experiences the freedom we have. But as you celebrate and remember all we have done over the last 239 years, remember that if we’re going to last another 239 (or even another 10), we must return to God! Pray today for healing in our nation. Pray for our leaders to humble and submit themselves to Him. Because without Him, nothing is possible. But with Him? With Him, nothing is impossible!
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” Psalm 33:12