"They put their hands around the wall and then he started crying. And when he started crying, she started crying. And then everybody in the room started crying. And then I almost started crying." So explains the man who took the wedding photo now seen around the world.
U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Caleb Earwood and his fiancée Maggie wanted to pray together before their wedding, but didn't want to break tradition by seeing each other before the ceremony. So they stood around a corner facing away from one another, where they held hands and prayed. Their photographer took their photo and posted it to Facebook. Local media sites saw the picture, then national news outlets including the "Today" show started calling. The whirlwind is still continuing.
The couple knew what they needed most: the blessing of God. What they sought before their wedding, we need to seek before each day begins and then all through the day. I often warn that "self-sufficiency is spiritual suicide," a fact I learned from years of experience. Across the 41 years I have been a Christian, my single greatest and most consistent temptation has been the lure of self-reliance.
I'm not alone.
Bill Clinton claimed in his first inaugural address, "There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America." If only that were true. In 1863, President Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation. After 152 years and the 1964 Civil Rights Acts, racial prejudice remains endemic in our society. In 1964, President Johnson announced his war on poverty. After 51 years and $22 trillion dollars in government spending, more than 45 million Americans still live in poverty.
In 1971, President Nixon announced a "war on drugs." After 44 years and an annual expenditure of $51 billion, drug abuse costs America more than $700 billion annually. According to the U.S. government, 47 percent of the population above the age of 12 admits to using illegal drugs. Mexican drug cartels directly control illegal drug markets in at least 230 American cities.
My point is not that Americans should not try to cure what is wrong with America. It is that human hands cannot change human hearts. Creation can be transformed only by its Creator. The deepest needs we face can be met only by the One who made us and loves us. (Tweet this) When we refuse the healing of the Great Physician, the fault is not his but ours.
Our Lord warned Babylon, the world's great superpower, "I will put an end to the pomp of the arrogant, and lay low the pompous pride of the ruthless" (Isaiah 13:11). As a result, "Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the splendor and pomp of the Chaldeans, will be like Sodom and Gomorrah when God overthrew them" (v. 19). If the Lord could judge Babylon, can he judge us?
Theologian Reinhold Niebuhr noted, "Man's capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man's inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary." Ronald Reagan prescribed the power that enables democracy: "Without God, democracy will not and cannot long endure."
Where is self-sufficiency tempting you today?
Publication date: June 4, 2015
Do you want to live a life in whole-hearted pursuit of loving God and others?
Read today's First15 at www.first15.org.