I really struggled with what to write about today. To be honest, I am tired of looking at the headlines and listening to the news reports of world events. Whether it is the politics of racism, or mistrust in my government, or the threats of war and terrorism --- I feel helpless to change the course of events. There is truly a sense of a "top down, bottom up" manipulation that is going to trap us all in a non-negotiable position. So how am I supposed to live my life?
I have come to realize that I have been lucky to have lived in the time span I've occupied. I have been able to experience freedom and liberty, and enjoy the fruits of those precious gifts like no other generation before me ... and sadly, I'm afraid, like no other generation to come after me.
And our national leaders were proud of our country and believed in the goodness of our people. America is not perfect; but there was a time that we bowed to no one, and led the world as a role model. I got to witness America when no one dared apologize for our benevolence; when our charity, goodwill and humanitarianism were welcomed and recognized as coming from our innate compassion.
I had the opportunity to pursue an education that was affordable, and in which there was the free exchange of ideas. I did not have to suffer through biased teaching or restricted dialogue. And I didn't finish my higher education with insurmountable debt and no job prospects.
I had the luxury of worshipping God without being ridiculed. My faith was not mandatory; one was free to believe or not. But I was able to follow my faith, as were others of different ideologies, in peace and respect. My beliefs were not questioned or mocked, and there were no attempts to ban the practice of my faith, or keep me from publicly declaring it. And there was certainly no effort to legislate it! That was when I was a young child. It has also been my regrettable privilege to see my faith be criticized in the public square; to see it diminished and diluted. I have seen the elevated position of my Holy God brought low by skepticism, unbelief, intolerance, and lies. Perhaps most tragic of all, the Church in America did not defend Him.
But I will never abandon nor relinquish Him for some false promise. I am who I am because of what God has done in my life, and I am thankful for all the good I have experienced, as well as the challenges of the past, and the trials to come. You see, I have a foundation that will sustain me; a fundamental core that I'm not sure this latest generation can understand. Things haven't ever come easily for me, and I've never been a conformist.... it's amazing how adversity and marching to a different drummer can make you stronger. I know I'm going to sound old-fashioned, but when I look at our youth today, I fear for them because I don't see many who want to stand above the crowd or take a risk. They just want to do whatever takes the least amount of effort and have someone else make it happen for them. I need to believe that there's time to instill that drive in them.
I admit that I don't have a clue what lies ahead of us in the foreseeable future. It certainly doesn't look promising or liberating. But I know that my God is bigger than whatever I will face. He has given me an incredible ride so far -- far more breath-taking than I ever could have imagined, or done on my own. So I will rely on Him, first and foremost, and then use the lessons I've learned, the knowledge of who I am, and the examples of past heroes to forge my way. There's still a lot of living to do, and no limit to the blessings awaiting us!
Philippians 4:12-13 "I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me."