Hope for Today: Mourning in America


Clay Center, Kansas – “Women are raped in Zion, young women in the towns of Judah.  Princes are hung up by their hands; no respect is shown to the elders.  Young men are compelled to grind at the mill, and boys stagger under loads of wood.  The old men have left the city gate, the young men their music.  The joy of our hearts has ceased; our dancing has been turned to mourning.”  (Lamentations 5:11-15) These are the divinely inspired words of Jeremiah, a preacher from generations gone by.  He penned them in a spirit of mourning over the condition of his nation, he so loved.

As I read Jeremiah’s stark language about the state of his nation, it makes me wonder about ours.  Children are slain in our schools and on our streets.  Women are sexually assaulted in the daylight.  Young women are trafficked for the pleasure of their captors.  Sons and daughters dishonor their parents, and parents abuse their sons and daughters. Babies do not live to see their mother’s face. Those in authority are cursed, slandered and threatened.  Our citizens blindly enslave themselves to destructive forces.  Ministers of God offer words of vain hope, but refuse to lay bare the people’s disobedience.

How shall we respond to the condition of our country?  What did Jeremiah do?  He observed his nation carefully.  He saw what was taking place and rightly concluded; the destruction happening before his eyes, was because the nation had sinned against God.  He lamented, “The crown has fallen from our head; woe to us, for we have sinned!”  (Lam. 5:16).

Americans are an exceptionally proud people.  Has our crown fallen?  Has it been tarnished by our immoral ways?  Are the things we see happening, a result of our sin?    

Maybe in response to another tragedy or injustice that grips the attention of our community or nation, we ought to follow Jeremiah’s example, “Arise, cry out in the night, at the beginning of the night watches!  Pour out your heart like water before the presence of the Lord!  Lift your hands to him for the lives of your children . . .”  (Lam. 2:19)

The events happening in our nation reflect the darkness of mankind’s heart.  It is an evil, a lawlessness that seems as if it has been released upon us.  No man has an answer for this.  It cannot be solved through human efforts.  It is a spiritual problem that needs a spiritual answer, which is found in the One who calls Himself, Savior.  Jeremiah wrote, “Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the Lord!”  (Lam. 3:40) Reflect upon our nation, your own community, your family, your soul.  As you do, know that God can redeem!  Jeremiah believed that about his nation, when it was at its lowest point, “Restore us to yourself, O Lord . . .”  (Lam. 5:21) Why did he say this?  Because he believed in a great God, “But you, O Lord, reign forever; your throne endures to all generations.”  (Lam. 5:19) When grey skies form over us, it feels as if God is absent.  Like He is far away and does not care.  Praise God though, the grey skies cannot hide the truth, neither can the waves of evil.  They distract and intimidate, but God is true, and He demonstrated that by sending Jesus, who died and rose again to overcome the darkness.    

A prayer for you – “O God, hear us I pray.  We observe and lay before you, our nation.  We have sinned and desperately need your saving power.  Humble us.  Bring us to weep for our children and our neighbor.  We believe that in you, the evil we see across the country and in our own hearts, can be overcome.  We confess our weakness, acknowledge your greatness and cry out for your help, O God.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Clint Decker is President of Great Awakenings.  Please share your comment with Clint at cdecker@greatawakenings.org and follow his blog at clintdecker.blogspot.com.