Can America be great again?
Some would argue, “it’s pretty great now.” Others would, of course, respectfully disagree with that assessment. If you side with those who say, “it needs to be better,” there is a sliding scale of where we would say the downward spiral began.
Some would point the needle back to the days of Watergate and the decline of confidence in institutions and, particularly, in our government. Others would note the Roe v Wade decision legalizing abortion, which has resulted since that day in an estimated 59 million babies being aborted. Still others would point to issues involving Wall Street scandals, or economic downturns, or wars, or the deconstruction of the Biblical family, or countless internal political scandals.
Wherever we might place our finger on the pages of American history and say, “There. It happened there,” the fact still remains that we are not the same people we used to be….and may never be again.
So what will we be in the future? We cannot go back to what some see as the “heyday” of the 50’s or even the days when “the Greatest Generation” saved the world from Nazi occupation and domination.
We must go forward. But where? Do we have a chance to be “great” again? I truly want to believe the answer is a resounding yes. But we can’t be the same again. And we will not become great due to a political process, or new laws being enacted, or even old ones being rewritten.
The French philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville visited America in the early 1800’s. He is famously known for saying in reflecting on his visit to America that “America is great because America is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.” As the product of a culture that had become almost wholly secularized and was built on a foundation that rejected morality and religion, the moral foundation of America impressed him deeply. Indeed, we were a great nation. And he was right. If we cease to be good, we will cease to be great.
America was great….and can be again….IF.
History is replete with examples of the foundation on which our greatness as a nation was built. John Adams, our second president, wrote “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
When our country was born, 99% of the populace called themselves Christian. Children’s textbooks, like The McGuffy Reader, taught children to read by teaching them the Bible. The government approved and printed the textbooks! Congress used to convene each session with a three hour prayer meeting. In 1920 (four years after the founding of Planned Parenthood) The Washington Post deplored the casualty and moral downward spiral that would come if a sexual revolution took place in America. They were right.
America was great because it was built on a rock that could not be shaken. But we have removed ourselves from that foundation, and sought to build another on the shifting sand of freedom from moral restraints, and the ultimate god of individual self-fulfillment. The Psalmist lamented, “If the foundations are destroyed, what will the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3)
Sadly I believe we have relegated and deferred to the role of politics the responsibility that the people of the land alone should take. We are looking in this election, not for a political leader for the White House, but for a savior. This, by any definition, becomes a form of idolatry.
While we cannot turn back the hands of time to a simpler time, there are some things that must happen for our country to be truly great again:
- IF the people of God will lead the revolution to greatness by our wholesale return to God…on our knees, in repentance and in prayer;
- IF we will commit to stand in intercession and prayer, not just for the upcoming election, but for the leader God sovereignly allows to be placed in office. Whether we like them or not;
- IF the church will recommit our efforts to evangelize and aggressively share the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with a nation that has forgotten Who God really is; and,
- IF we will live as “salt and light” in our personal walk and relationship with God as we engage a fallen culture around us. Our lifestyle will speak loudly when our words cannot be heard.
Let me say it firmly again: Our nation will not become great again because of a political leader or the implementation of a political agenda or platform. We are a great nation in many ways, and are still the greatest nation on earth, but we must sadly admit we are far from what we could be…and are moving in the wrong direction.
The thing that made us unique is still the thing that can make us great again. We will become great again because we have become a nation of people who are good….because we honor, hear, and repent and obey the voice of God. To do otherwise is to inch ever closer to judgment….
….and the loss of any chance to be truly great again.
FOR MEDITATION: “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” (Prov 14:34)
FOR REFLECTION: Does your life…your influence….contribute to America being better…or worse? Will you commit to being a person who helps America become the nation that God desires for us to be by your prayerful vote and a commitment to pray for the next 20 days for God’s will to be done in this election process?