Cruising Route 66
Shaken, Then Stirred
Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”
Let me begin with a few words I shared with our church family shortly after the Twin Towers were struck and our world changed.
“Our world has made a sudden and unexpected change in the last month or so, moving from complacency to fear. As we see the events of recent days unfold, it is not unreasonable to expect an atmosphere of worry and suspicion. But we all know that if we run and hide, grovel in fear, judge and condemn those who don’t fit what may be perceived as the American image, and live our lives in panic: Then the cowards who qualify their theology at the cost of innocent human life, have won. How do we face this threat with calm resolve? What must we do to prepare our hearts and minds in times such as these? One thing is to open our eyes and see the whole picture and watch our God at work in the midst of our trouble.”
God is telling Haggai and each of us, “I am going to shake some things up, then I am going to stir some things up.” We had been shaken, and our hearts were stirred when we were attacked by some demented religious malcontents. The result wasn’t defeat, depression, or division. Instead, it created more unilateral support and corporation within the various branches of our government than at any time in US history. The divisiveness that had existed within American culture faded, replaced by overwhelming unity, corporation, and patriotism.
The years prior to 9-11 we were a time when oppressive court decisions had all but suffocated the freedom of religious expression, a cry rose up for prayer and God’s intervention. Those who held the helm of our country’s government stood on the steps of our nation’s capital, held hands, sang hymns, and prayed.
Youth pastors were not allowed on school campuses, and Christian students were not allowed to gather or pray. The opening prayer at City Council and School Board meetings was prohibited, public parks were off limits to any religious activity, and prayer at sports events, graduations, and open-air weddings on public property was strictly forbidden. It was a season in our land where God and those who followed Him were of little concern, they had become more an annoyance than a benefit. However this was not to last.
This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and the desired of all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the LORD Almighty. The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the LORD Almighty. The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the LORD Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the LORD Almighty.” Haggai 2:6-9
A few weeks following 9-11, I stood before a crowd that had gathered in a City-sponsored sports arena and gave the invocation, asking God to intervene in our time of fear and confusion, to fill us with wisdom, and to put His peace in our hearts. I was in the full-dress uniform of the Police Chaplain, with the Mayor, City Council, Chief of Police, and other dignitaries at my side. I called upon God on behalf of all those within our community and country. At my conclusion, a resounding unified shout of approval and applause filled the air. It was the worst of times; it was the best of times.
What is sad is the need for God once again has passed from the hearts of our land. In the short span of two decades, America has become a different place. We are no longer the beacon of strength, justice, and hope. The world looks upon us the same way we look upon ourselves, as a divided people that have become politically, economically, socially, and morally corrupt.
It is time for God to once again shake us, but this time to our foundation in order to stir our hearts. We are in desperate need of an awaking, a time to see what we have become so that the land that God has given us can be greater than it has been. We are blessed, and we must never take it for granted.
Until next time,