I wish I could take credit for the following, but unfortunately, I cannot. The credit goes to a woman I’m happy to call friend – a very gifted artist, and obviously, talented writer as well. This is from her blog Stones on the Shore.
“THE NATIONS RAGE, THE KINGDOMS TOTTER”
With our nation in continual turmoil in 2020, beginning with covid 19 and finishing up with an election that might not fully resolve until 2021, it feels like God is allowing us the recompense of our sin. Psalm 9:15 reads, “The nations have sunk down in the pit which they made, in the net which they hid, their own foot is caught. The Lord is known by the judgment He executes; the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands.”
I’m disheartened, saddened and shocked at the state of our country: the hate and violence spurred by identity politics. Recently a friend (I never knew we were of a common political persuasion, for years as friends and business associates, we never discussed politics) reported that his own cousin blocked him on facebook for something he shared about the shock of this election. I’ve had friends call those of us who believe differently the most hurtful, hateful, ugly names, all under the guise of “tolerance,” “equality” and “moral high ground.” I myself am guilty of anger and resentment, of judging, of unfriending-in the past, those on both sides who spew hate. I’m terrified to even share this for fear of being ridiculed by friends who see it.
We from differing viewpoints watch the same movie, read the same dystopian novel or Bible verse and see the opposing political party as the bad guy, the oppressor. When will we see that the hatred and dissension is designed, stirred and spurred on by one common enemy, Satan, who revels in the animosity, corruption, disease and violence increasing in 2020? Think of how we allowed a simple face mask to divide our entire nation. I know that the Lord’s allowed these trials for our growth, for our coming to Him.
In the upheaval of 2020, I look around me, to my next door neighbor, whose dear husband, a healthy 70-year-old, died of pneumonia brought on by covid; local kids whose mom died of cancer last week; I think of my friend, a gallery owner in CO, who lost her home in the recent wildfires there; I remember the family requesting prayers for their young son in a TN ICU fighting for his life, and it puts things into perspective. While so much in our lives and our livelihood depends on the outcome of this election, there are many aspects of life much more important. There are people dealing with much deeper problems than politics. God is ultimately in control. He has a purpose and a will for each of us; His thoughts are higher than our thoughts and His ways are higher than our ways.
I am reminded of Psalm 46: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. Selah” Selah means “pause, take a breath.” If we ever needed to look beyond our situations and realize that a Holy God is presiding over it all, it is now, friends. Selah. The psalmist continues: “There’s a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; He lifts His voice, the earth melts. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress… (PS 46:1-7).
What we are experiencing is nothing new; nations rise and fall and fall apart. If I remember correctly, didn’t our Founding Fathers expect this Republic to last about 200 years before corruption and hate cause us to redesign the very system that let all our voices be heard for so long? I believe George Washington warned that political parties would be the death of this nation, and look at what’s happening. Rather than seeing situations with clarity, people with opposing views are judged, labeled and put into a category of “I disagree with you; therefore, I label you, shut you out of my life and mock you.”
In the 1600’s, Matthew Henry commented on the first part of Psalm 46: “Let those be troubled at the troubling of the waters, who build their confidence on a floating foundation; but let not those be alarmed who are led to the Rock and there find firm footing.” We are not overcome by troubles if our confidence, our faith is founded on Jesus. This tells me that no matter which way the election goes, no matter which friends hate or block you for your beliefs, if your hope is in Christ, the Rock, your foundation is secure. James tells us to count the trials we endure as joy, because the testing of our faith produces patience; it helps develop our faith and brings us closer to the Lord when we cry out to Him. Scripture tells us we’re at a place in time where this is critical.
What we must remember as Christians is that we are to draw closer to God in times of uncertainty. Christ tells us to love our enemies, to pray for them, to turn the other cheek. It’s when we cannot lean on our own strength, nor what we hold dear on earth, that we look to the Lord and surrender to Him. We find peace in Him that no person, no circumstance can take away. Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also. Selah. Lord, bless our country and our leaders, and bring us to You. Consider this nearly 500-year-old hymn by Martin Luther:
A Mighty Fortress is Our God
Martin Luther, 1529; translated by F. H. Hedge 1852
A mighty fortress is our God
A bulwark never failing
Our Helper, He amid the flood
Of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe
Doth seek to work us woe
His craft and power are great
And armed with cruel hate
On earth is not his equal.
Did we in our own strength confide
Our striving would be losing
Were not the right Man on our side,
The Man of God’s own choosing.
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is he
Lord Saboath his name
From age to age the same
And he must win the battle.
And though this world, with demons filled
Should threaten to undo us
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His Truth to triumph through us.
The prince of darkness grim
We tremble, not for him
His rage we can endure
For lo, his doom is sure
One little word shall fell him.
God’s Word above all earthly powers,
No thanks to them, abideth
The Spirit and the gifts are ours
Through him who with us sideth.
Let goods and kingdoms go
This mortal life also
The body they may kill
God’s Truth abideth still
His kingdom is forever.
Like I said, she is not only a talented writer, but has been blessed by God with a wonderful artistic gift. You might want to take a look at her website: Sonja Caywood Fine Art.