O, say, can you see?
When you’ve turned on the television this month or scrolled through your twitter or facebook newsfeed, you probably saw it. Petitions begging the government to stop the shutdown, news articles about basic chaos in the government (food stamp benefit malfunctions, senior citizens being man-handled out of National Parks, etc.), and opinionated status updates from the political-science expertise of every Tom, Dick, and Harry on your friends list.
What does it all mean?
Anyone who grew up in America up to this point has learned one thing: America is the best country in the world. Many things contribute to this ideal. We’re very rich and very free–that means we have the freedom to have whatever we want, and the money to get it.
The Land of the Free!
Something has happened over the past couple of decades to knock America down a few notches in the esteem of other countries. Where foreigners used to dream of coming to America, they are now laughing at us for our domestic and foreign policies, laughing at us for our entertainment and pastimes, and now laughing at us as our ideals are shattered. Last fall I met a man from Germany who was pleasantly surprised that we here in America don’t have to pay a tax for our televisions. Well aren’t we lucky! We don’t have to pay a tax for the 2.5 televisions in the average American household, or the thousands of channels, or DVD rentals, or online streaming t.v. shows that we watch regularly.
Aren’t we paying for a lot more?
The political climate in America currently is best described as turbulent, and there’s a reason for that. No person or government can provide all that we need and all the freedoms we deserve. No person or government on earth, that is. The Christian world puts a lot of pressure on the government to be this Christian beacon for the world, but Biblically we should know better. No earthly kingdom can be this, and do this.
The Star-Spangled Banner vs. The Blood-stained Banner
The stone cut from the mountain in Daniel 2 is cut and formed with no hands. It abolishes all other kingdoms in earth’s history with one sweeping entrance into existence. It establishes itself on earth and reigns there. This kingdom is not America. We have known this as a church for many years. This kingdom does not collect taxes in order to provide for needs. This kingdom does not establish limitations in the name of protecting our freedoms. This kingdom doesn’t and never did depend on whether or not a star-spangled flag was still standing at the end of the night, whether or not 535 men and women could agree on a budget, whether or not one President could establish universal healthcare, or whether or not the gold backed the dollar. The kingdom of Daniel 2, cut from a mountain without hands is the very kingdom that God has said he would establish on earth.
This world is not my home.
Our way of life is being threatened, yes.
Perhaps we have settled in a little too comfortably on this earth, in this great nation. Perhaps we have depended on it for so much for so long, we forgot that something better is coming.
Something better is coming.
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.
There is a coming King who isn’t black or white. He doesn’t have to produce evidence of his nationality. He doesn’t even have to be elected! Our elected leaders tell us we need someone to give us money for food, we need certain healthcare, certain education. Media tells us what to place our hope in, even what fashions to follow. The King of the Bible says:
25.Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven,will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
I have been finding great hope in the prophecies of Revelation while this nation is failing me as a citizen, because I place my hope in the King and Creator of the Bible. Before I was old enough to understand the prophecies, I understood that God told me not to worry–not to worry about what I’ll eat, drink, or wear. Isn’t that the first thing we worry about? We pay the bills that keep our lights on, maybe our phone on, etc., and oftentimes run out of money before we can buy adequate food for the family, clothes for the baby, diapers, toilet paper. When these basic necessities are threatened, when our basic freedoms are threatened we see as Christians where our dependence lies.
But Seek First the Kingdom of God
Most of the people I associate with are Christians. Most the people that hold onto the original ideals of America are Christians, striving to hold onto Christian ideals. So then, where does our hope lie (myself included)? It seems to me that we are putting a lot of faith in a broken nation, when we are told in black and white in the Word of God to “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness”. The Greek word for ‘righteousness’ is dikaios, which means “correct justice”. Isn’t justice exactly what we’re seeking in our fight for freedom in America?
We are given the answers in God’s Word. We are given a future home where this present one will fail us again and again. The government shutdown may have ended, but there are problems in America that cannot be solved. There are problems in every nation on earth that cannot be solved. My hope lies in the Kingdom of God and all His righteousness. I hope I can remember that the next time our freedom, or our paycheck is threatened.
Image courtesy of domdeen / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.