God is Back
by Kirsten Andersen
It is not that He ever really left, of course, but that the people of this country have been trying to stuff Him into the confines of our nationís Churches for so long. For years, Americans from across the political spectrum have been nothing short of frantic in their endeavors to make Him invisible to the general public.
But ever since last Tuesday, God is suddenly welcome again. Our President, who is a believer in Jesus Christ, not only declared last Friday a "National Day of Prayer and Remembrance," but has asked American citizens to pause two or three times a day to pray for our country.
Marquee signs in front of Citiesí Halls, McDonaldísí, and even strip clubs across the country proclaim things like "God Bless America," "God Save America," and "Pray for America" right alongside their usual messages of "Car Tax Due 10/5," "Happy Meal $2.99," and "XXX! Girls! XXX!" Residents of neighborhoods that used to be cold and detached urban enclaves are now meeting at intersections every evening to wave flags, sing patriotic hymns, hold hands, light candles, and yes -- pray.
Through all of this apparent revival, the ACLU has been sufficiently quiet to make me wonder for a moment if we might have lost them, too, in the horror of last Tuesday. Donít get me wrong -- Godís newfound popularity is encouraging to me. In the aftermath of last Tuesdayís attacks, people are learning what many of us knew all along -- God is a source of comfort and strength to those who seek Him.
Many pundits of both the published and armchair variety soundly derided comments made last week by television evangelists Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell. Their statements were, without a doubt, some of the most callous and ill-timed I have heard come from the mouths of professing Christians. However, their words would not have cut so deeply had they not contained elements of truth.
Americans have a tendency to think of themselves as righteous by default. We live in a country that has, on the whole, a pretty decent populace. People are nice to each other here; that is, we donít usually throw bombs at each otherís children or poison each otherís drinking water. We emblazon our currency with "In God We Trust," and pledge allegiance to the flag that represents "one nation under God." We stay home from work on Christmas, and toss our extra change in cans for the Salvation Army.
When we are nasty, it is in civilized ways: we write ranting missives to the local news editor, stage toothless boycotts of major corporations, and sue anyone who makes us uncomfortable or angry. Sure, a few Americans might fly off the handle now and then and murder their kids or shoot a bunch of classmates, but they are the rare exceptions to the general rule that Americans are Good People who have God on their side (assuming there is a God).
The problem with this world view is that we arenít nice. We routinely sacrifice our unborn children on the altar of convenience. We try to chase God out of the public view in the name of tolerance. We convince ourselves that God doesnít exist, or if He does, He isnít listening.
Then September 11th happens.
Suddenly, weíre on speaking terms with God again. No one seems to be wondering if, after years of our pushing Him away, He still wants to talk to us. We just assume Heís like a lonely, abandoned lover, patiently waiting for us to come back to Him.
Well, the joyous, indescribably amazing truth is that He is. 2 Chronicles 7:14 says, "[If] My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." If we want America to have God on her side, then what we need to do is act like it.
I donít know if last Tuesdayís attack was a judgment of God, or an act of Satan, or just a bunch of tragically misguided maniacs perpetrating heinous evil. What I do know is that God can use even the most evil of people and their demented acts for His good. As the nation looks heavenward, expect heaven to respond -- abundantly. From the miraculous few survivors at the World Trade Center to the outpouring of help we are receiving from even the unlikeliest of nations, God answers in a million ways, each day, as long as we keep asking.
Please, America...donít stop asking.
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