What are we so afraid of in the American church? Don’t get me wrong. I am no Pollyanna. I understand that there are problems aplenty and if we ever run out of personal problems to worry about, we have newspapers and TV news shows to help keep us stirred up. I do not spend my time running around with a plastic smile smeared across my face nor do I slap too many people on the back as I tell them to cheer up.
And yet, even as I grant that there are certainly very difficult issues for all of us to deal with today, I have to wonder when the backbone went out of today’s Christians in America. We are a whiny lot. Think about it, if you will. We serve the Lord of the Universe. We confess that “all things work together for good for those who love the Lord.” We confidently argue that we can “do all things through Christ that strengthen us.” We say that God is in charge. But we whimper and cry every time that something seems to go against us in everyday life. Do we or do we not believe that God has control of this process that we call history?
In other countries, we see that Christians are being persecuted even unto death. They are suffering horribly and yet unprecedented numbers are joining the church of Jesus Christ all over the world. In America, we are hunkering down and see the end coming soon. We can’t pray in school; those Muslims are taking over! Our president is handing the country over to the infidels! Christmas has been captured by the heathens! Do we not serve a God who is greater than all of these things?
When we look at the bible, we find literature that was written in times of great hardship and yet it rings with a confession in the God who overcomes. Jesus came when the Romans were in charge of Palestine. When he was crucified, no one would have predicted that his little band would conquer the mighty Roman Empire. Going back to the Old Testament, many of the great books were brought together during the time of the Babylonian Exile when the Israelites felt abandoned by their God. And yet, they held together in faith. One of the greatest theologians of the church who ever lived, Augustine, died as the barbarians were literally tearing down the gates of his city and ending the Roman Empire. Still, his confession was a belief in the faithfulness of God.
We need to come back to the God who will not fail us. Let us hold on to him and confidently state our faith in him. Remember the words of Jesus: “Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the age.”