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 I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. – 2 Chronicles 7:14
Now you’re going to get it!” These are some of most satisfying words one child in a family can say to another.
It might be because of mud dragged in onto the carpet, or it might be the goldfish bowl now turned upside down next to something wiggling on the floor. Whatever it is, the wrath of Mom is about to descend upon someone. While the guilty party tries to sneak away, the announcer of doom is gleefully pointing him out.
Sadly, there is a tendency for adults to do the same thing when the wrath of God is on the horizon.
Our verse speaks of a land with wicked ways – a land that needs healing. It is the voice of God calling for humility, for prayer, and for repentance. It first called out to Israelites in the Promised Land. Its echoes have now reached America.
Who would deny that America needs healing? It isn’t just the lawbreakers that defy the commands of the Holy One. It’s also the lawmakers.
Our enemies point with glee to the swamp of immorality that Americans live in. Loveless homes, marriage-less parents, and lawless crowds are becoming the norm. Homosexuality is being accepted and defended by the Supreme Court. As in the time of the Old Testament Judges, the description is: “And everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”
But God also has eyes, and he does not like what he sees. Once it was sung about America, “God shed his grace on thee!” It still is true. But the special blessing of God is not something he owes us; it is not something he has promised forever. Grace is always undeserved, and grace can be rejected. The consequences of rejection are horrendous.
So the temptation might come to us to say: “Those godless, wicked people who live in this country are going to get it! They better humble themselves, and pray, and turn away from that wickedness.” We might even say it with glee.
But, God is not speaking to those godless people; he is speaking to his own people. He is talking to us. We are the people “called by his name.”
The healing of America begins with us. The Lord of the Nations does not hear the prayers of God-rejecters. He listens for the voices of his beloved people. He looks for humility. He waits for us to look to him, alone, for hope and healing.
A strong America, a healed America, is not brought about if the economy or national defense is strong. Only one if carries weight. Only one if is offered.
The answer to the healing of America begins with the phrase, “If my people…”
Prayer: Holy Lord God, we turn to you with repentant and humble hearts. We know that our lives are not free from sin. We admit that too often we look somewhere else for answers to life, when we should be looking to you. Deal with us in mercy, and continue to allow our beloved county to prosper in ways that are good and God pleasing. Heal our land so that generations yet to come may be able to sing of America, “God shed his grace on thee!” Amen.