"Hanani, one of my brothers, and some men from Judah came; and I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped and had survived the captivity, and about Jerusalem. They said to me, 'The remnant there in the province who survived the captivity are in great distress and reproach, and the wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its gates are burned with fire.' When I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned for days; and I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven." Nehemiah 1:2-4
On January 6, 2021, the world watched while the Capitol building of the United States of America was temporarily overtaken by members of its own citizenry. Most Americans were horrified and could not believe that it was happening. Many were brought to tears. It was clear evidence of the profound division that exists within the country. What are we to do?
Though it may feel that given the pandemic, social upheaval, political discord and economic devastation, these are the worst of all possible times, they are not. The world has endured much more and much worse. Even in this country, a Civil War was survived. This is not to say that emotions are out of place because they are not. These days, times and events have never happened to us, therefore we feel how we feel.
The message today, beloved, is that there is a remedy available if we would simply avail ourselves of it. If we, with one voice, would appeal to our Heavenly Father, He most surely would heal our land and our hearts. After all, He is the same God who delivered His people out of Egyptian slavery, fought for them against enemies who arrayed themselves against them, fed them from His own hand in the wilderness and caused them to thrive despite every attempt to exterminate them. That same God is the God under which these United States was conceived and established. There is nothing too hard for Him. Is appealing to Him too hard for His New Testament people, the Church? Is placing the things we have in common (in Him) ahead or in place of our differences too difficult?
Historically, the people of God turn to Him in crisis. While it is sadly human nature that we cause these crises through disobedience, unfaithfulness, division and a lack of love for Him and one another, His nature is to hear our plea and respond (Judg 2:18). All who call upon the name of Christ ought to do as Nehemiah did when he learned that his nation was in a shambles: he mourned, fasted and prayed. After months of doing so, he took action, with God's favor, to bring about change. Israel was restored. So too can be the United States of America.