During 2020, I've done a lot of thinking and praying about the future of our nation. For many people, it has been difficult to be a witness to the division and the disparity among our fellow Americans. And it has been troublesome to see the loss of hope and peace in the lives of so many. It has been a battle for Christians to stay focused on fighting in the spirit when they see so much defeat in the physical world. Our younger generation is fearful that the "American Dream" is going to be gone before they have a chance to experience it, while our older generation mourns the loss of their "golden years". We tell ourselves that this can't be happening; that this is not what America is all about; and surely the Lord will deliver us from this assault upon our Christian nation.
The truth is that we are not the first prosperous nation in the history of the world [who has built an empire for itself] to then find itself sliding into decline and destruction. I discovered a 2010 article, titled The Decline and Fall of the American Empire, written by Alfred W. McCoy, an American historian and educator who specializes in the history of the Philippines, foreign policy of the United States, European colonization of Southeast Asia, illegal drug trade, and Central Intelligence Agency covert operations.
Mr. McCoy knows whereof he writes, and this particular article was so prophetic in nature, I wanted to share its premise with you. Here is some of what Mr. McCoy wrote: "Despite the aura of omnipotence most empires project, a look at their history should remind us that they are fragile organisms. So delicate is their ecology of power that, when things start to go truly bad, empires regularly unravel with unholy speed: just a year for Portugal, two years for the Soviet Union, eight years for France, 11 years for the Ottomans, 17 years for Great Britain, and, in all likelihood, 22 years for the United States, counting from the crucial year 2003. Future historians are likely to identify the Bush administration’s rash invasion of Iraq in that year as the start of America’s downfall. However, instead of the bloodshed that marked the end of so many past empires, with cities burning and civilians slaughtered, this twenty-first century imperial collapse could come relatively quietly through the invisible tendrils of economic collapse or cyberwarfare."
I won't go any further into Mr. McCoy's prognostications for the future of America, because to be frank, it's predictions are dismal and disheartening. He saw it coming 10 years ago, and it appears to be unraveling before our eyes. Instead, I would rather address what Jesus has to say about how our faith could be the key to avoiding our inevitable decline. You will find His advice in Matthew 21:18-22. In this passage, Jesus happens upon a fig tree by the wayside. Scripture says He went to it and found nothing on it but only leaves. And He said to it, May no fruit ever come from you again! And the fig tree withered at once.
It was common knowledge in Jesus's time that if you saw leaves on a fig tree, you could expect fruit, unless the tree was barren. The evidence of leaves tells us that the fig tree should have been bearing fruit. As the Creator of the fig tree, Jesus expected it to be producing fruit. And as its Creator, He was justified in condemning it and cursing it to never bear fruit again. This was not only a declaration against the fig tree, but also against the Jews, who had become spiritually barren before the Lord. Just as the tree should have been bearing fruit, so should the people be bearing fruit for the Kingdom of God. The tree had the form of a fig tree, but not the reality -- it bore no figs! So it was with the Jews. They had the form of religion, but not the reality of faith. They knew the right words to say, but their hearts were far from God and they bore no fruit for Him.
The disciples are astounded! How could the tree wither so quickly and at once? But instead of answering that question, Jesus points them to the matter of their faith. He tells them if they have faith, and do not doubt, they will not only be able to do what He did to the fig tree, but they could tell a mountain to be moved and thrown into the sea, and it would happen. You see, they did not remember that God had once given man dominion over the earth and everything on it, in it, and under it, and that Adam and Eve had surrendered it to Satan. But now Jesus was there to reclaim it and restore it to His creation called man. They were to rule His creation according to His governing principles and to rule in His absence. In essence, He was telling them that if they had true faith, they could pray and receive the mind and thoughts of God [to do to the fig tree what Jesus did, as well as tell the mountain to move, and it would]. That means they were to have no doubt that by praying and submitting to God's will, they would hear His desires and receive the means [and the power] to achieve it. And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.
So, I ask you ... do you have that kind of faith? Or do you doubt? Do you believe that when Jesus came to earth He took back the dominion of the earth from Satan and handed it over to us? Because it's going to take that kind of faith to overcome the predicament we find ourselves in today! I believe that like the fig tree, for a long time we Americans -- and that includes Christians -- have practiced a fruitless faith. We have portrayed the form of a righteous nation and a religious people, but we have not borne the fruit of true faith. We have not believed in our power and authority to represent God's Kingdom government in our nation. So, we have stood by and watched as fig trees full of leaves grew among us, and did not demand that they bear fruit or be cut down. We did not have the faith to believe that we could have the mind of God and do anything about it. Even when we discerned our Enemy's plan to destroy us, I'm not sure we even believed our faith could guarantee us a victory.
But true faith knows how to win because it is borne in the mind of God and transferred to us when we pray. True faith has never lost a battle, because we discern God's strategy to defeat the devil and we follow that plan in obedience. Moses and the nation of Israel faced the Red Sea with the Egyptian army at their back. David, on the run, defeated Saul's plan to defeat him and take his life. Daniel faced a pride of lions in their den and didn't back down. And they were all able to be victorious in their battles because they walked in true faith and believed that their prayers could manifest the divine purpose of God.
It now appears to the world that our precious nation is on the precipice of defeat. Many of you may feel it looks hopeless. But don't listen to the lies of the devil that tell us we can't overcome these obstacles. Our faith is more than just a formula to get what we want. It must become active in believing that we are who Jesus says we are ... citizens of Heaven placed here in this place and this time to manifest God's divine purpose for this nation. Our God is the same God that divided the Red Sea; the same God that delivered David from the long arm of Saul; and the same God that rescued Daniel from the jaws of the lions. He is the same God who won our infant nation's victory against the British Empire and who is returning the Jews to the Holy Land. And in all these examples, victory was won through persistent prayers of faith -- faith in God alone to see His sovereign will be done. That kind of faith is not limited to history. It is real and it is possible for us today. That kind of faith will fight for you because it is in divine relationship with God. Let us overcome our faith-killing doubt and pray sincerely, fervently, and persistently as we await the miraculous manifestations of deliverance that I truly believe is God's will for our nation!
1 John 5:14-15 This is the [remarkable degree of] confidence which we [as believers are entitled to] have before Him: that if we ask anything according to His will, [that is, consistent with His plan and purpose] He hears us. And if we know [for a fact, as indeed we do] that He hears and listens to us in whatever we ask, we [also] know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that we have [granted to us] the requests which we have asked from Him.