As I have been observing the response of America’s leaders on both sides of the political aisle these past 10 days, I have come to the conclusion that something good is happening under the surface.
President Trump defines it as “the true greatness of the American character.” I see it this way: America is experiencing, amidst pressure and weight of an invisible enemy, the heartfelt transformation toward a pro-life culture.
In addressing the crisis this morning, our President declared:
“Doctors and nurses are working non-stop to heal the sick. Citizens and churches are delivering meals to the needy. Truckers are making the long haul to keep shelves stocked…Americans from every walk of life are coming together, and thanks to the spirit of our people we will win this war. We are winning and we are going to win this war. America will triumph and America will rise higher than ever before. We will be stronger than ever before. And we’ve learned a lot. We’ve learned a lot!” (President Trump, press briefing March 20, 2020)
A national paradigm shift
What have we learned? By leadership and example, the President and his team of experts, faced with the peril of an invisible enemy that threatens the lives of of our elderly and those with weak immune systems, has gone “all in” to preserve the lives of the “most vulnerable” among us: the elderly and those with weak immune systems.
As a pro-life advocate, I am greatly encouraged by the across-the-board response of leaders across the country. We have actually come to the place, several days into the crisis, where the scramble to save the most vulnerable among us is of greater concern than the drive to save our economy in the short term. I say “in the short term” because we understand death is a permanent, irretrievable proposition and when we understand that, we can move forward with faith and a clear conscience that if we do what is right, we will prosper in the end.
It was C.S. Lewis who said:
“If Christianity is true, then the individual is not only more important but incomparably more important, for he is everlasting and the life of the state or civilization, compared with his, is only a moment.”
One leader said today that if we first focus on saving lives, then the salvation of our livelihoods will follow. Sounds a lot like Matthew 6:33:
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)
Could we be observing a change of heart on a national scale?
As a Christian, I view every circumstance as an opportunity for God to do something special. When the chips are down, He works, by His grace, to make everything turn out for the good. That’s Who He is and that’s what He does. The epic passage of scripture from Romans says it well:
“We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan.” (Romans 8:28)
What is God’s plan? Can we step back and gain any sort of objectivity amidst a crisis as daunting as this one?
I believe we can if we are willing to commit ourselves to a cause that is bigger than us with a heart filled with hope. I believe we can if we do what we know is right and commit the rest to God.
Sometimes we are swept into causes that are so big, all we can do is say “Here am I, send me!” This is one of those moments. And moments like these define the character and the people of a nation.
Maybe This Is Such A Moment
Americans have been criticized for being too driven, too superficial, too competitive and too willing to drive God from the public square. Maybe this is such a moment in history when “God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful” in Americans on an individual and a corporate scale.
We hear the wonderful stories of the “Greatest Generation,” those young men and women who, from the midst of a decade of deep economic depression, jumped at the chance to serve their country to fight back the forces of evil threatening to conquer the world at every corner. Looking back with the perspective of history, we see clearly now that America emerged from that moment in history stronger, wiser and brighter than ever before. After World War 2, the United States rose to her place of world leadership, a leadership so laced with grace and blessing from God that we brought restoration and dignity to our vanquished enemies as well as our bankrupt allies.
A crisis can be defined as a “dangerous opportunity.” We are in a crisis, make no mistake about it! We are facing danger at every side. But there is an opportunity here, and God is working to make the most of this opportunity, for our good. The question is: Are we willing to step out of our comfort zone and learn the lesson God is teaching us? Will we continue to accept His invitation to live according to His plan? Maybe on an individual level, as a Christian, this question is a no-brainer. “Count me in!” But on a larger scale, we must never underestimate the power of God to use the Body of Christ to affect societal change. Jesus said if we have enough faith we can command a mountain and it would obey. Some challenges call for fasting and prayer. Prayer leads to action. When united with faith and unity, our prayers and our actions can change the world. Maybe we are experiencing one of those moments.
Remember: God said, “If my people…” This is where it starts, but not where it ends. Here is the full verse:
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 16:9)