Friends…I felt God lay this on my heart recently.
So, today I’m out to administer a bit of perspective that I hope will taste like sweet elixir from Mary Poppins’ magic spoon. Because I strive to obey Him at all costs, even if it means upsetting a hornet’s nest. Because our country desperately needs some medicine. And because I love Him, America, and you:
I’m not well versed (at all) in politics, and won’t pretend to be. Honestly, as one afflicted by depression’s thorn, I avoid the headlines like the children’s museum during flu season. (Judge not, unless you’ve personally tasted the depressive existence.)
I go lots of places in pursuit of truth and transparency, but I don’t go there. And I cringe to even bring it up–but I’m going to open the proverbial “can” anyway. (Deep breath.)
I don’t know what the outcome of this year’s election will be, or how it will affect our country. Or even how to wrap my mind around the swirling opinions, angst and unrest that are composing our nation’s current political climate.
But this I do know…HE knows:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you HOPE and a FUTURE.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV, emphasis mine)
We typically take refuge in this Word as it pertains to ourselves and our families. But this is a Word for our country as well.
Let’s talk context for a moment: we find this beloved verse nestled in a book of the Bible penned by its namesake, the prophet Jeremiah…whose urgent plea to the Judean exiles was repentance in the face of their imminent destruction. To turn from their drowning sin, grabbing their Father’s lifeline of love. Because their nation was headed down the drain—and FAST. (Sound familiar?)
Sadly, Judah eventually fell prey to Babylon despite Jeremiah’s urgings.
Just below, in chapter 30, lies a shot of hope–the Redeemer promises restoration to his wayward children: (Cue Hallelujah Chorus ‘cause we need some hope, STAT!)
“ ‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will bring my people Israel and Judah back from captivity and restore them to the land I gave their forefathers to possess,’ says the Lord.” Jeremiah 30:3 (NIV)
He had His eye on them all along, even in their sordid sin-mess. It’s what He’s all about–our hope and our future. We, the apples of His eye, whom He beholds not as sin-stained, but washed clean by His Son’s bleaching blood.
Yes, I get the whole judgment piece as it pertains to our present reality…
But I maintain that whether or not our top pick is in the White House, the GOD OF THE UNIVERSE is on His throne. And He’s not going anywhere. Ever!
“The Lord has established his throne in heaven and his kingdom rules over all.” Psalm 103:19 (NIV)
“The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord is enthroned as King forever. The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.” Psalm 29: 10-11 (NIV)
Let’s rest in that, shall we? I’m banking on this that, friends!!!
I can hear the murmurs now…but this is not oversimplification. This is blessed FACT–TRUTH, my friends, laced with loads of mercy and grace, abundant today, yesterday and forever, and certainly in our nation’s time of need.
I’ve been reflecting a lot on peace recently… and have concluded it’s a choice. I already have God’s peace–His Word says so:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” John 14:7 (ESV)
So it’s just a matter of me embracing and yielding to it on a daily basis. God is bigger than the whole of the world’s swirling problems. My hope is in Him alone, therefore I can rest in Him despite political unrest. Despite anything.
As I write, I’m reminded of an old hymn that frequently ministers to my anxious heart: My Hope is Built on Nothing Less; the words, haunting in all their truth and application for this life:
“My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.” (Public Domain)
(It’s interesting to note that Edward Mote wrote the hymn in 1834 with the parable of the wise and foolish builders in mind (Luke 6:46-49). You know the one–the wise man built his house on the rock (Rock) that would sustain it in the face of the floods, whereas the fool who neglected the all-important foundation in his home’s blueprint watched it succumb to the torrents. The parable opens with this: “ ‘Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”
Yikes. I think the implications of this metaphor for our current day speak for themselves, as does the parallel between this parable and the setting of Jeremiah’s prophetic plea: obstinate people bent on disobedience, thereby authoring their own annhiliation.
…But back to the PEACE point.)
Assuredly, “We dare not trust the sweetest frame”…we build our hope on the Holy One enthroned, not on the fallible one who occupies the White House, or any gubernatorial seat, for that matter.
Certainly our nation should heed God’s warnings against waywardness throughout Scripture, but I believe that’s almost secondary to embracing His peace. It passes understanding, my friends.
And from that peace place, perhaps we’ll make more levelheaded, Spirit led and calculated moves toward turning this nation to God…
So let us today in America, unlike the Judeans of Jeremiah’s time, turn our eyes back to our Savior—our Saver. The Author of our peace. And back to the bigger picture—the beautiful redemption story unfolding even as we speak, and vote and pray and hope for our blessed homeland, whether or not we live to see the restoration of our nation.
God bless America, and Xoxo…