“Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!”
Sounds like something your pastor might have said last Sunday, doesn’t it? Those words were actually voiced by President Abraham Lincoln in March of 1863, as he signed a Senate resolution authorizing a National Day of Prayer and Fasting. Hardly was this a moment of great peace, wealth and prosperity, such as that which we now enjoy. Our nation was in the very midst of a costly and brutal Civil War; the Emancipation Proclamation had been signed only 90 days before. Yet, Lincoln was moved to lament the pride that kept his broken nation from acknowledging its utter dependence on God.
It gives me chills to consider how--throughout our nation’s history--our Lord identified, prepared, and called up just the right man or woman, for such a time as this. Though revisionist historians have loudly argued to the contrary, the vast majority of those leaders shared a common faith. Not a Deist, impersonal belief, but an active, vibrant relationship with a Creator God that lives and loves and leads His children in the paths they are to follow. I am convinced that an America without Christian leadership would have quickly ceased to exist…if it had been established at all.
So, I give thanks for a Heavenly Father Who cared enough to send His only begotten Son, that whosoever would believe in Him might not perish, but enjoy eternal life. I give thanks that I will—one day—stand before His throne, alongside those selfless patriots who—with a firm reliance on Divine Providence—pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor to the cause of freedom. And I give thanks that our God has seen fit to protect and preserve our union, even in the face of our disobedience and unbelief.
Perhaps, on this Thanksgiving holiday…as we enjoy the embarrassment of riches that surround us, each day…we would be well-served to remember the words of President George Washington, who—being anything but a Deist—called upon his countrymen to acknowledge the active involvement of a personal God in our lives, and that of our nation:
“It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the Providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.”
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