We always look forward to the Fourth of July parade in Red River, NM. So many fun floats and creative entries delight the thousands of people lining the street. This year, however, one float in particular touched my heart. It was a Christian float blasting Christian tunes and clad with a banner on the back of the trailer visible only as it passed:
“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 will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land,” (2 Chronicles 7:14, NIV).
My attention linger on those words long after the other spectators turned their attentions toward the oncoming floats. The embarrassment I felt was of both flesh and faith. I’m glad that those in my party were too busy enjoying the parade fun to notice the tears welling up in my eyes. However, I’m confident God noticed the thoughts that whisked me into His world (faith). A faith that mourns for a country disregarding God; a country trapped on downward spiral of cultural and financial decay that worries many, but that others embrace. A state and country in desperate need of healing.
God can change the direction of our downward spiral, but so far He hasn’t. Obviously He can or it would not say so in the pages of the Bible. It got me to thinking about our withering country. Healing seems so far away, what are Christians missing?
Upon returning home after the Fourth of July weekend, I ran across these words from Psalms and wondered if, maybe, they hold an important key to healing our land:
“O Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath. Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am faint; O Lord, heal me, for my bones are in agony. My soul is in anguish. Ho long, O Lord, how long?” (Psalm 6:1-3)
Immediately after the psalmist addresses the Lord, he asks not to be rebuked or disciplined in God’s wrath. Wait, what? What a jolt. Whenever I reference 2 Chronicles 7:14 in my prayers I ask for God to heal our land. Maybe you are more thorough than me if you pray this verse, but my supplications pretty much focus on the words “heal their land”. But, there is much more to it: humility, seeking God, and turning from wicked ways. I know Christians are at varying stages of maturity and none of us are perfect, but as we pray for God to heal our land do we expect all the action to come from God? According to Scripture, we have an active part to play in the healing. Do we realize how much mercy we need before God heals? That’s a small, yet important, point that I’ve missed for a long time.
This was quite a DUH moment for me. Asking for His mercy is as much a part of the equation as calling on Him, humbling ourselves, praying, and turning away from wickedness. Psalm 6:1-3 serves as a reminder that anguish is often the catalyst that causes us to seek God! The only time many of us will genuinely seek Him is when our lives hit rock bottom. Our state and nation are nearing rock bottom, and we need to seek God as individuals and as Christians.
Here are some practical questions we can all ask ourselves to help determine where we are as individuals and where we may need to seek God’s mercy:
- Do I embrace the things of the world, or the things of God?
- Do my beliefs line up with man or God?
- Am I kind to others . . . including sinners, of which we all are?
- Do we show others God’s love . . . even those that are unlovable?
- Do I elevate “faith above flesh” or “flesh about faith”?
- Do I honor God with my actions and lifestyle?
- Do I recognize God’s sovereignty and holiness?
- What motivates me? Things of the physical or spiritual realm?
None of us our perfect, and God knows that. All He wants is faith-filled people. Part of that faith is recognizing who we are – imperfect people…sinners. Likewise, He wants to heal our land. When we seek His mercy it automatically causes us to humble ourselves, seek His face, and turn from our wicked ways. That is the attitude that needs to accompany our calls to Him to heal our land. When Christians unite with a godly perspective it creates a parade of epic proportions that delights our audience of One.
- Pray that as citizens of New Mexico (and the United States) that we will look at our own individual shortcomings. Do our thoughts and actions line up with God.
- We need to pray for mercy as we identify the areas where we are not living in a godly manner.
- Pray that Christians unite under God’s holy banner. We need to be with God, not against Him.
- Pray for mercy as election seasons, both state and national, approach. Let’s seek God’s mercy as leaders are chosen. If we don’t seek mercy we may experience judgment.
If you would like to connect between posts, please join us over on Facebook.