“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 will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
I’m not sure how many of you haven’t heard, but last night President Obama signed a strategic agreement with the president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai. He then addressed the nation and explained exactly what he signed. Please see video below for his full speech.
There were overnight attacks in Kabul; the Taliban say it was in response to the signing of the strategic agreement. (MSNBC News)
I’m sitting here thinking, So, what next? The troops continue to be drawn out of Afghanistan as our combat role changes to the supportive role… But will it “take,” so to speak?
The truth is, as a military wife and a follower of Christ, I get to experience a closeness to God and Country that civilians don’t necessarily see. I see every day how my prayers for my husband and his unit directly affect the course of his day. Yesterday I forgot to pray for Mitch at work and he had a terrible day and came home grumpy after mountains and mountains of paperwork. Now I’m not saying that his pleasant work days are solely because of my morning prayers, but that I can see a difference between the days I pray and the days I don’t. Just imagine the power of your prayers for this country and the remaining war efforts in Afghanistan…
In Psalm 91: God’s Shield of Protection, Military Edition, a story is told about the Miracle of Seadrift, Texas. To summarize, the church had a prayer board for all their deployed soldiers in WWII displaying the soldiers’ pictures and names so that the church congregation could pray for their success in combat and their safe return. Well, all of the soldiers on that board made it home safely. Fast forward to the war in Iraq: Sgt. Leslie King was the grandson of one of those Seadrift soldiers. He called his mother and told her that something didn’t feel right; that he didn’t feel the shield of protection over him and his men anymore. Come to find out, the military pictures had been taken down because the “war” was considered to be over. Over a three-week period that the photos were down, Sgt. King’s unit experienced difficulty in combat and even deaths. The photos were put back up, giving the congregation visual contact as they prayed for each deployed soldier and King wrote back to his mother to tell her that the peace had returned. (Ruth-Schum, p. 142)
This isn’t coincidence people. This is God at work, answering the prayers of the faithful. We have the power to influence the direction this war takes by the power of our prayers. That being said, I ask you to pray for increased stability in Afghanistan. I ask you to pray for a successful withdrawal of our troops. I ask you to pray for the military men and women you may know, and pray that God makes their burden of service light. I ask that you pray for their safe return to their families and friends here in the States.
It clearly says in 2 Chronicles that the remedy to the pains of a nation, is simply to cling to God’s truth; to pray and humbly ask for his forgiveness of our sins and for his protection and sustenance of our nation. It also tells us quite clearly what will happen if we don’t:
“But if you turn away and forsake the decrees and commands I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, then I will uproot Israel from my land which I have given them and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name.” 2 Chronicles 2:19-20
God said that though the temple that Solomon built was imposing, all who passed by it (in Israel’s disobedience to God) would see the evident disaster; they would see it forsaken. This is the time we need to most trust our God. This period of uncertainty and instability is the point at which we should all be praying that God take over; that he heal and restore our land; spiritually, governmentally, politically, and economically.
I love that the Bible is consistent throughout. In James 4:7-8, we are told the same thing.
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”
God is consistent in his requirements of us. He calls us to turn away from wrong and sin and to embrace his loving grace through Christ Jesus. All we are to do is be faithful to what is right and true and God will shower us with blessings of peace. Again in 1 Peter 5:6-10! We are told again and again throughout the Bible that in order to experience grace, we MUST humble ourselves. We must admit our fault “…that he may lift you up in due time.” (1 Peter 5:6)
“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” (1 Peter 5:10)
As the next election approaches, people keep asking what must be done to restore our economy, to restore peace, to restore the gleam and pride of America… The answers are right here people, in black and white. It comes down to whether we as a nation are too proud to listen to them, and heed their direction.
The problem isn’t just our economy. It isn’t just our governmental officials. It isn’t just our foreign policy. It isn’t just this, or just that… The problem is us. Are we going to continue to try to slap band aids on a broken nation, bleeding money and resources, and more importantly, the lives of our military service men and women? Or are we going to address the real issue, and seek the solution that WILL heal?