PATHWAY TO HIS PRESENCE
Four days after the Las Vegas massacre, I sat in a filled civic center in Tallahassee, Fla., listening to a teaching by David Jeremiah. He was, as expected, wonderful. But what happened at the end had just as great an impact. One of his gifted vocalists sang “God Bless America,” and as she did, I asked myself, “Do we even have the right to ask God to bless America?”
With division sweeping our great nation, angry voices accompanied by violence filling our streets, mass shootings, and daily scenes of hate moving over our televisions, we all wonder. Has our nation sunk so low that we don’t have the right anymore to sing that beautiful song? Do we have the right to ask God for His blessings?
If we think of blessings as something God can give us, like an increased bank account or good health, then one wonders if blessings of prosperity and health should be prayed for by a country that has turned its back on God in so many ways. However, perhaps we can look at other avenues of blessing, some that we have not thought of before.
“God bless America by taking away. Take away our self-centeredness and our need to be right. Take away pride that exalts us and closes our eyes to the pain of others. Take away the apathy that we carry with us into and out of church. Take away blind eyes that are closed to the homeless, the hungry, and the lost. Take away arrogance that causes us to highly acclaim ourselves.”
Show us that the glamorous never was, that sin always is, and that we are hopeless unless we hope in you. Yes, God, please do bless America by taking away the unnecessary that we thought was necessary and by putting in its place the essential which we thought was not essential.
And, have mercy on us. Amen.
The Rev. B.J. Funk, associate pastor of Central UMC in Fitzgerald, has written a book with 50 devotionals on grief based on her personal experience. “Grief is not a Permanent Condition: 50 Devotionals to Help You Through the Grieving Process” points the reader to Jesus and the hope found in Him. Visit www.bjfunkgrief.com for more information and to order. Email Rev. Funk at firstname.lastname@example.org.