I wrote this awhile back after another of this country’s infamous government shutdowns. It still applies today and brings my thinking back to a place closer to where God would have it.
I sat down to write today and I had nothing to write about. I started typing a few words about nothing and then I realized that there was something after all. The government shutdown is over. Our government, in all of its infinite wisdom, has decided to end the shutdown and get things moving again. It is a good thing and a bad thing. Yes, it is good that all the things that have been closed are open again and it is good that people that weren’t working are going back to work and people that weren’t getting paid are getting paid again. It isn’t so good that the government that is so quick to chastise us about our iniquities can’t set a budget and abide by it. They have agreed that they must go farther and farther into debt. It is probably a good idea not to use the government as an example of how to manage money, solve conflict and live honorably.
In fact, governments have seldom been the shining light in the darkness they believe themselves to be. I have to be careful that I don’t let their ideals become my ideals. I have to be careful not to let patriotism and democracy color my view of God’s Word. I have to let God’s Word color my views on everything from George Washington to my finances. I cannot expect our government, that can just shut down, start up and spend money that isn’t there be my moral compass. I think far too many do, and that kind of faith, faith in an inept group of men, is devastating to the human soul.
To far too many, the government is the only god they know and they serve it because they want freedom, they serve because the government gives them food and shelter, they serve because they were taught that it is a good thing to do. But it seems that no matter what we do and how much we do it the government wants more and the more they get the less wisdom they exercise.
The government is what it is. We can’t get by without one, I guess. But it is not going to be the answer to all of our problems. It will never get its act together, no government ever has or ever will. It is made up of people and people never get it together. Our forefathers were not a bunch of saints and geniuses. The accounts of them in history books are only shadows of who they were. They were flawed and scarred. They were just men that did what men do, some better than others.
We as American people are groping in the dark for some kind of answer to the ills of society. We used to have a purpose but now we seem to be lost in materialism and selfishness. We want a government that reinforces that.
I have looked to Washington, DC to provide that answer. Well, I can look and look and it isn’t there. It isn’t ever going to be there and it never was there.
Matthew 22:37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
First of all, I have to continually acknowledge that this is the answer, the only answer. This doesn’t imply that we must all participate in some watered-down and musty, moldy religion. Yes, I need to go to church but simply going is meaningless. I have to live these words. I have to do it. Other people have to begin to feel the same way. Those that already feel that way need to feel it on a deeper level. That is the answer.
God is our moral compass, God is our example, God is our provider, God is our answer! He never shuts down, he is never locked up in conflict, he is never selfish, he is never worried about a debt ceiling because his riches are boundless, he is never a lame duck, he is constant and never-ending and he is omnipotent and omniscient. He is the answer!
I am not floundering, lost at sea. I have direction and power to move. I do not have to rely on the president, the state or any man to secure my freedom. I have my freedom in Christ. I have to stop forgetting that and stay focused on God and stop being distracted by the foolishness perpetrated by mere mortals in our country’s capital! God is never a fool and will never fail and my faith needs to rest squarely on him.
Hebrews 11:29 It was by faith that the people of Israel went right through the Red Sea as though they were on dry ground. But when the Egyptians tried to follow, they were all drowned. 30 It was by faith that the people of Israel marched around Jericho for seven days, and the walls came crashing down.
Faith in God brought the people of Israel through great trials. God’s grace abounded for them and that same grace is extended to us, to me, to you. There is an answer. It isn’t where our country is looking. It is much closer than we all think.