“A nation which does not remember what it was yesterday, does not know what it is today, nor what it is trying to do.” These words of Woodrow Wilson accurately describe the need for Americans to “remember” their nation’s heritage. It is not an accident that America is the greatest nation that has ever existed. And, if America is to remain “great” we must “remember” what it was that made her great and re-apply those principles to the America of the ‘90s. (now 2010 – t.t.)
The foundation upon which our founding fathers built this nation was a belief in the Almighty God. They were confident that God was blessing their endeavors as they forged the most prosperous nation in all history. They prayed that He might guide their efforts and acknowledged that God was responsible for their success. And they used His word as the basis for the value system they established. America’s reliance upon God can be traced all the way back to the year 1492. History records that when Columbus discovered this land, he planted a cross in the new soil, and kissing the earth, he took possession of this continent for God.
History also records that the majority of the pilgrims landing at Plymouth Rock in 1620 were devout believers in God. They boarded the Mayflower in hopes of shaking the Church of England and settling in an area where they could worship God in the way they believed the scriptures taught. They were the first of many settlers who came to America seeking religious freedom.
Then, on July 4, 1776, our founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence to bring into existence the United States of America. The closing words of the document declare: “With a firm reliance on the Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”
Truly, God was at the center of the American experience. Our laws and institutions are based upon the teachings found within God’s Holy Bible. Our coins and currency bear the motto: “In God We Trust.” Our patriotic songs recognize the hand of God in the fortunes of America. And, our pledge of allegiance describes America as “…one nation under God.”
The prominence of God in the heritage of America cannot be denied. Yet, America in 1992 (now 2010 – t.t.) is suffering from amnesia. For the most part, we have forgotten God’s central role in the founding of our nation. And, we have also forgotten God is the only one that can sustain our nation in the generations to come.
A history teacher once asked a disinterested student, “What are the two greatest problems in America today?” The student answered, “I don’t know, and I don’t care!” And to the surprise of the student, the excited teacher replied, “You are absolutely right!”
The United States faces many difficult problems. Yet, the most dangerous problem of all is that there are too many citizens who neither “know” nor “care.” They may understand that America is the greatest nation in all the world. But they do not “know” what has made America great. And they do not “care” what it will take to perpetuate greatness for future generations.
Man’s nature is such that he is prone to be forgetful of God. In particular, when things are going well, it is easy for individuals (and even nations) to forget that God is the giver of all prosperity. They may even deceive themselves and image that their blessings are the result of some virtue of their own. All too often success leads to a feeling of self-sufficiency and God is forgotten in the process.
If we review the history of the rise and fall of Israel in the Old Testament, one principle is quite obvious; when Israel acknowledged the authority of God, their nation was blessed; and when they turned away from God, their nation suffered reproach and was ultimately destroyed.
The same principle can be applied to any nation. For example, consider the American experience. It is true that most of our founding fathers were not Christians. Nonetheless, they did acknowledge God’s authority and based their early documents and laws upon scriptural principles. God blessed their efforts and lifted America to a position of world prominence.
Like Israel, America has experienced valleys where the remembrance of God would be diminished. America is currently in one of those valleys. Our nation is moving farther and farther away from Christian values – the same values upon which our nation grew strong. The question is, “What will in take for the America of 1992 (now 2010 – t.t.) to be awakened to the need for God?
Edmund Burke once said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” If America is to be reawakened, it must be through the activity of good men and women; it must be through Christians. Christians cannot afford to sit idly by and let the evil of America take over. We must actively pray to God for the return of America back to righteousness. We must actively keep ourselves unspotted from the evil of our nation. We must actively teach our children to remember their creator while they are young. We must actively influence those with whom we associate to turn from their evil ways. By reaching upward to God, inward to ourselves, and outward to our fellow man, the Christians of America will be able to turn our nation back toward God.
America was not formed as a nation apart from God, but a nation under God. May history record that it was the influence of Christians in the 1990s (2010 – t.t.) that turned our nation back on the path to respecting the authority of God.
By Chad Carter, Athens AL - via “The Sower” - Sept-Oct. 1992
(Chad Carter was 13 years old when he wrote this article at Athens Bible School in Athens Alabama.)
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