Depending on one’s perspective, it can be argued that we are living in “the best of times” or for some, “the worst of times.” One’s perspective might be guided by a variety of factors such as political party affiliation, gender identification, racial and cultural identity, national origin, economic class, or educational background.
Difficult times are not new to the American scene: The Civil War, World War I and II, the Depression, the civil rights era, the Vietnam War era, etc. Somehow, the nation has managed to find its way through turbulent times. During the hard days, it is not unusual to seek solace in the wisdom of other people. Let me share some words that can help us to navigate in these stormy times in America.
The hymn, “In Times Like These” (Ruth Jones), is a source of strength:
“In times like these, I have a Savior.
In times like these, I have an anchor.
I’m very sure, I’m very sure,
My anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!
This Rock is Jesus;
Yes, He’s the One.
The anchor for Christians is Jesus Christ on whom we place our hope, and trust that our God will continue to lead us in and through all situations in life.
James Weldon Johnson expressed his understanding of God’s care and God’s leading in his hymn, “Lift Every Voice and Sing:”
“God of our weary years,
God of our silent tears,
Thou who hast brought us thus far on the way;
Thou who hast by thy might led us into the light,
Keep us forever in the path, we pray.
Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met thee;
Lest our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget thee;
Shadowed beneath thy hand, may we forever stand,
True to our God, true to our native land.”
Our God has led us through the “best of times” and “the worst of times.” Our God is able! Our God is leading us right now, day by day.
President Abraham Lincoln dedicated the Gettysburg National Cemetery with words that live in our history. He penned this historical document just four months after the Battle of Gettysburg. He said in part,
“It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us…that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion…that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain… that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom…and that government of the people…by the people…for the people…shall not perish from the earth.”
Creator God, Thank you for the opportunity and privilege of living in a democratic society. Thank you for the joy of being one of your pilgrim disciples in a nation where we have freedom of religion. Thank you for the gift of human and natural resources that we share together. In this present time, please grant this nation “a new birth of freedom.” Grant us wisdom and grant us courage as we strive to be a government of, by and for the people. Gracious God, we ask that you set us free. Amen