Those of you Christians who are awake to what is going on in America and the world, have you been grieving? I and my family have been grieving: grieving over all that made America good and great; grieving over our hopes we once held for the future; grieving over mask mandates, closed churches, milk toast pastors, the collapse of the economy, people who have lost their jobs, the masses of American’s swallowing lies hook, line and sinker, businesses in bankruptcy, friends who had planned to visit, hoped for vacations, saving up for future home renovations, buying a new car, and on and on and on. In other words, we’ve been grieving over “normal.” Oh how often I’ve said, I want to get back to normal. Have you wanted that too? Have you been grieving too?
But, in answer to that I’m going to ask another question. Are you sure you want to go back to “normal”?
Of course when I think of normal, I mean the good and godly America that really has not been around for a long time. It was the America of the 1950s and before that. It was that nation that filled Scotsman Peter Marshall, who was a former chaplain of the U.S. Senate (in the 1940s) and pastor of the church of the presidents in Washington D.C., with great pride and a sense of respect and awe. It was that nation that caused Alexis de Tocqueville to remark, “America is great because she is good; when she ceases to be good she’ll cease to be great.” And that goodness, he pointed out, came out of the churches, and was a righteousness that emanated from the church to the people and thus impacted the society.
But, that normal has not been around for quit awhile. Little by little that goodness became contaminated: in the colleges, in the seminaries, in the public schools, in the movies, in the music, in the churches and in the homes. Truly, no matter how much we love Jesus, we all have been impacted by the culture of sin around us.
So, let’s look at the real “normal” a second…
Broken families. High divorce rates. Addiction of all kinds including pornography, alcohol, drugs, food, shopping. Hearts and minds that have become desensitized to sin. Indulgence in movies teaching worldly philosophies and hedonistic, selfish, immoral behavior. Christian couples living together before marriage. Spiritually dead churches. Ministers who didn’t even believe the Bible is the inspired word of God. Lying signs and wonders in churches deemed as godly and good. False prophets declared greater than the prophets of the Bible. The approval of the homosexual lifestyle by church denominations. Christians constantly vacationing and investing in worldly pursuits. Christian individuals addicted to and worshiping the idol of busyness. And this is all just among Christians. I did not mention the normal out in the world such as the persecution of photographers, bakers and other business people who were fined or prosecuted for not catering to homosexual weddings, the murder of unborn, road rage, the Bible being removed from schools, prayer not allowed in schools or sporting events, teachers and coaches being fired or suspended for praying with their students or team, Satanism vying for equal treatment with Christians in schools etc., homosexual marriage, the sex slave trade, lying politicians, immoral sex education being taught in the schools, school shootings, sex being promoted in anything and everything, the worship of sports, and large numbers of children joining and/or dabbling in Wicca, Witchcraft, Satanism, and other Occultism.
That was our American normal. There was a whole lot more to list, and I’m sure you could add to it as well. But, you get the point.
So, every time I begin to desire returning to normal, I am struck with the grave realization that we cannot return to normal. Sin is there. Evil is there. Godlessness is there. Enslavement is there. The nation has not repented. A large number of churches have not repented either. America has forgotten God. Even the American churches have forgotten God. And God cannot bless a nation that does not honor Him. And who wants to return to a “normal” that does not have Him front and center and in the place of honor He belongs? And for what are we hoping and fighting when America is riddled with sin like cancer?
We long for “normal”, but just like when Israel resided in Egypt, normal meant enslavement. We cannot return to normal just like Israel could not return to Egypt. God was leading Israel to something far better than Egypt, a land flowing with the bounty of milk and honey. Just as God called Israel to be holy and set a part, He is calling us as Christians to do the same, to not look back but to look up, for He is leading us to “a land that is fairer than day, and by faith we can see it afar.” Except, it is not that far away anymore. It is at the door.
America is not our home. Please, let that sink in. Go ahead and grieve her loss. But in that loss comes great gain. For, all that we knew and loved in America – all the goodness and godliness and the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and the wholesomeness and family things and warm fuzzies – did not originate here. It originated in a Kingdom whose Builder and Maker is God, and His Kingdom is coming. We may think our hearts long for America, but in reality what we long for is our righteous King and His Kingdom. And try to wrap your hearts around this: We are citizens (Philippians 3:20) and ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20) of the eternal, heavenly Kingdom of God, who happen to reside in a temporary, earthly nation called America. Our allegiance is to God’s Kingdom and no other.
The next time you begin to pine for the good old days, remember, there are far better days in an eternity that is drawing nearer now than ever before in history. There may be very hard days ahead, but let’s set our hearts on the Promised Land not idolatrous Egypt. There may be grave persecution and tumultuous times, but let’s set our hearts on the righteous Kingdom, not our fallen, unrepentant nation. Let’s not be so obsessed with the things of this earth, no matter how good, that we are so covered with “earthiness” instead of Christ. Let’s look to King Jesus for our peace and security, not our unregenerate, degenerate leaders. Let’s long for heaven, our real home, not this world that is passing away and is in its death throes. And let’s not look back to the days of our slavery with stars in our eyes because of some good we got out of it. Remember Lot’s wife. Do not look back. Instead, look up. Truly, let’s STAND UP at attention and LOOK UP in anticipation, for our King is coming soon! (Luke 21:28). This is our blessed hope! (Titus 2:13).