The fact that this blog post is going live past July fourth is the perfect example of why I could never be a journalist. I’m a ruminator – I like to chew on and think about things, leaving me very little to say at the time of the current event. So, pardon my late-to-the-field commentary.
And, I’m not one to write about current events in general. I don’t really think that debating over politics is the most effective way to “bring others over,” at least not through a blog. And I hesitate to write this because I don’t really desire to engage in the debate, or to place myself square in the way of trolling comments. But occasionally I stumble over a soap-box I can’t help but stepping on for a while.
As you all know (because I’m definitely in post-current status), the Supreme Court recently legalized gay marriage. My Facebook feed was evenly split between rainbowed profile pictures and passionate articles about the dire fate of our country. It was a little exhausting. And heart-breaking. And hard to process.
I believe that the biblical definition of marriage is pretty black and white, and I think it’s devastating that our country does not define marriage along those lines anymore. But that day, on Facebook, the statements that bothered me the most were not the celebration of “equality” by those in favor of gay marriage. The statements that irked me the most were those made by Christians, about God’s abandonment of our country. “God moved his business overseas,” “God is done with our country,” etc., etc.
These statements are heartbreaking to me. For many reasons.
I’ve been thinking about God, talking to Abraham about the impending destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. We all know this story. Abraham asks, “But, God, what if there are fifty righteous? Forty? Thirty? Twenty? Ten?” And God says, “If I find ten righteous, I will not destroy those cities.”
Then I think of the promises to the Remnant – those faithful Israelites, those kept to and by God – the promises of nurture, and green pastures, and beauty instead of ashes that weave their way through the major and minor prophets in the last half of the Old Testament.
And I think of Jesus. Jesus, who by all expectations, should have come sweeping in, Romans falling left and right. Jesus, who should have eradicated a government that was perhaps one of the most perverted, immoral, unjust, and corrupt governments in all of history. Jesus, who instead submitted to the corporal punishment of a cowardly leader, an irate crowd, and an unjust conclusion. Jesus, who told his disciples to pay their overly-exorbitant taxes. And Jesus, who seemed more concerned with hugging children and feeding the hungry and washing disciples’ feet than debating politics in the public square.
And, then, after the Supreme Court decision came the fourth of July and another stream of comments on our miserable, awful, God-forsaken country.
And now I’m mad.
I live in America. My husband lives in America. My mother, my father, my husbands’ parents? Live in America. I know pastors, friends, cousins, writers, artists, speakers who live in America.
Here’s the deal: God’s business is not done here, because his business? It’s with the righteous, with his Remnant, with his people. And there are hundreds, thousands, of us here, like those I listed above.
And how dare we. How dare we package the Lord of Heaven’s Armies into a tiny box and ship him overseas and render him impotent. How dare we tell him his time is up here.
How dare we corrupt the Gospel story, the story of God squeezing himself into flesh for the sake of the soul of the homosexual, the prostitute, the adulterer, the liberal, the liar, the luster. How dare we shrink that story down to political decisions, calling it ineffective and over.
The Kingdom of Heaven is an upside-down kingdom, and as far as I can tell, lasting change and God’s business don’t happen on the micro levels of governments but on the macro levels of personal, soul-changing Love.
And our job? Is bringing the kingdom of Heaven to the hearts of our neighbors.
So, can we make a deal? Let’s repent of our hopeless, apathetic approach to the Gospel, get on our knees, and start praying for revival. Let’s humble the scoffing parts of our hearts that say our country is too far gone, and ask God to make the Gospel powerful in this land once again. Let’s ask for courage to continously hope in the power of the Gospel to change lives.
Because our business is this: to keep hoping and believing and glorifying this Gospel until God takes us home. And though God is powerful enough to bring nations down, and to make them rise again, that’s not our business. We are never once commanded to worry about that. So let’s not stop hoping that the Gospel can work mightily in those around us.
I guarantee you, our neighbors, even our enemies, will be more compelled toward Jesus and his righteousness through hopeful expectancy in the Gospel than by apathetic, cynical damning of our country.
God’s not moved overseas. He’s not done here. He’s with me, delighting over me, mighty to save, ready to the finish the work, not wanting to lose a single soul. And he’s with you. And here’s my declaration: I will not stop hoping and asking to taste his goodness in the land of the living, in this land, in my country.
Well said, Jenn! Well said.