I love this nation.
I’m supremely grateful for having been born in the land of the free and the home of the brave, even as I’m aware of how very much I take it for granted.
I’m deeply thankful for men and women who have deemed this nation worth fighting for, and who have possessed the courage and nobility to do so.
But there was a time when I stopped singing “God Bless America.”
Because He already has.
Out of all things we might call “blessings,” I can’t think one He has withheld.
Financially, we’re undoubtedly among the richest countries in the world. Even the destitute here are considered among the world’s wealthy.
By and large, we are a literate country, with education broadly available to children.
Our armed forces are among the best trained and best equipped.
We haven’t had a war on our shores in 150 years – and even then, it was war we waged against ourselves.
There is general availability of basic medical care.
Our water is clean.
Americans have free access to churches and to Bibles. We have preachers and teachers and evangelists who teach sound doctrine.
How much more could He possibly bless us?
What grace He has lavished! Because what makes America more deserving of these blessings than any other country or people group?
We don’t deserve His favor.
We don’t deserve the bounty.
And guess what?
God isn’t American.
We intertwine our Christianity and our patriotism so closely that we imagine God is bound to take America’s side. To protect us. To keep blessing us.
And I just can’t help but wonder…why do we feel this way?
It’s pretty audacious to ask Him for more blessings…
when He’s already given us so many.
And what have we done with them?
We’ve rejected His involvement in every public aspect of our nation.
We’ve called “right” what He has irrevocably labeled “wrong.”
We’ve stood by and watched as our own countrymen are imprisoned and tortured for no other reason besides claiming the name of Christ.
And so the question isn’t whether God is on America’s side. It’s whether America is on His.
and I’m just not sure what side America is on.
The Blessing America Most Needs
I recently started being able to again sing “God bless America” in good conscience, but only because I’ve clarified in my heart what kind of blessing I’m asking Him for.
It goes something like this:
God, revive America. I beg You to have mercy on us and restore us. Draw us to Your throne of grace in repentance, and to our knees in humility. Bring to us whatever circumstances that will cast us back toward You. Break us so you can build us again to be a nation whose only boast is in You.
Should He grant those requests, we’ll be blessed indeed.
I don’t know what the future holds for America. But if I someday must choose between my nation and my God, there’s no question where my allegiance will be.
The closer I grow to my Savior, the more hotly my first allegiance burns toward Him. And it’s not really in a “first among many” kind of way. It’s more like an “overwhelming everything else” kind of way.
I am on God’s side. And I pray fervently for the day when my America will be, too.
12 Prayers for the President, straight from the pages of God’s own Word