“How Did We Become ‘One Nation’?”
Of all the miraculous event surrounding the birth of our nation and our ability to overcome obstacles that, many times, seem insurmountable, perhaps the most miraculous happening is just how we even came to be a nation. Think about it – how is it that our 13 colonies were even able to join together to take on the British Empire?
You see, these colonies were made up of people who had come from many different places and nations and, although they were under the same rule of the British, they were certainly not all English. Plus, the colonies had taken a position that each colony stood alone and was not necessarily connected to any other. So, when you put this together with the fact that at the time of our American Revolution, there was still a large part of the population who were British loyalists, just how were our Founding Fathers able to make the revolution happen?
Before it could happen, something quite miraculous had to occur to bond all of the individual colonies into one larger nation. But how could God make that happen? What the new America needed was a revival – in their hearts.
You see, since the Pilgrims had first landed at Plymouth Rock and dedicated their settlement to Jesus Christ, a lot had change in our nation and a spiritual lukewarmness had settled over America. And although many preachers like Jonathan Edwards and William Tennent were trying to reignite this spiritual fire, it had not happened. But then a preacher, a circuit rider by the name of George Whitefield, came to America. And when he began to preach, everywhere he went revivals broke out.
The first time Whitefield preached in Philadelphia; it was from the Court House steps. The streets were jammed, but everyone stood perfectly still. His sermons were simple and straight forward, but they carried a powerful message that all men are created equal and all are seen the same in the eyes of God. But even more importantly, when God sees a man’s soul, He doesn’t see him as an Episcopalian or Presbyterian or a Methodist – He sees him as a believer or a nonbeliever in Christ.
That first day he spoke in Philadelphia, Whitefield didn’t notice that he had a very famous guest in the crowd – Benjamin Franklin. And as Franklin listened to Whitefield’s words and observed the people’s reaction, he noticed something very powerful was happening. He said, “It is wonderful to see the changes being made in the manner of our inhabitants”.
Year after year Whitefield continued to preach, never stopping to rest, and his health began to fail him. But he would not stop; he could not stop! He continued to speak and people continued to come by the tens of thousands. One observer described hearing a sound like distant thunder and then seeing a great cloud of dust rising along the road. It was people riding as fast as they could to hear Whitefield’s sermon.
In sixteen weeks, He preached a hundred different places riding the main roads and back roads, covering nearly 2000 miles. And something very miraculous was happening. For the first time denominational barriers were being broken down and all were accepting Christ in the same way. But even more amazing, geographical barriers were also being broken down and suddenly these barriers did not matter – the American people were becoming one people – a body of believers who had a national identity as a people chosen by God for a specific purpose – to be the light in a darkened world. You see, God had given George Whitefield a tremendous task – to awaken the slumbering hearts of the American people – and he had obeyed.
Between 1736 and 1770, George Whitefield preached more than 18,000 sermons. He preached in Boston just five days after the Boston Massacre. And from there he went on to New Hampshire where it seemed the entire district had turned out to hear him preach. As he stood to speak, it seemed he wasn’t able. He was just too weak. So, he paused and prayed – then his voice came out strong and clear. For an hour he preached with such power that the audience was spellbound. On and on he went into the second hour, seeming to look right into Heaven, and then he stopped, absolutely exhausted.
That night he had a fitful sleep, and then that next morning, despite a crushing pain in his chest, nonetheless he pulled himself out of his bed to see one last dawn’s morning light. Then, George Whitefield died – he was gone to be with the Lord, but the new day would soon break and George Whitefield’s job was complete – America was now a nation – one nation under God.
All through our history in those darkest moments in our nation, people have turned back to God. There was a great surge back to God during our American Civil War. During World War II our nation had a tremendous increase in church attendance and general interest in matters of the Spirit. We even saw that for a short time after 9/11. You see, when things get tough, people turn to God for help and guidance and protection.
But if I may say so here, I truly believe that there has not been a time in our history which was more crucial than today. There has never been a time that our nation has been so close to falling and losing our very souls. We have drifted so far from the great spiritual truths this nation was built upon, and if we don’t find revival in our nation soon, we just may be through.
“But”, you say, “Jerry, how we get back? Can we ever return to a country whose heart is seeking the presence and power of Almighty God? And how do we do it?”
We pray. We fervently asked God for revival. It worked in the past and it can work now.
In 1934 evangelist Mordecai Ham preached a revival in Charlotte, North Carolina, and one farmer was especially concerned that the people in his area were not that interested in revival. So, he invited people to come to his farm to pray for revival and to pray for God to raise someone up in his city to carry the Gospel to the ends of the earth. During that very revival the farmers own son was converted to Christ, and the farmer was overjoyed. But, what about the farmer’s prayer? Did God raise someone up to carry that revival to the ends of the earth? He surely did – the farmers own son.
The farmer’s son was Billy Graham. You see, the real answer for our nation is not just jobs or money or issues of our health – it has to do with issues of our hearts.
Please today – pray for revival in our America.