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COLUMN — Our nation should return to God

There was a time just less than 20 years ago when our nation stood together as one people.

Race, politics, religion, gender, sexuality were all put aside. We sang songs about fighting off our enemies, we stood proud for the flag, we sang the national anthem anywhere and everywhere. A moment, several moments, of silence took place in schools and in the government. We were truly, “one nation under God.”

How soon we forget.

Much like the Hebrew people who were set free and led by Moses under the direction of God to travel to the “promised land,” we have too quickly became separated and lost our purpose. The distance between Egypt (the place of enslavement) and Canaan (the promised land) is estimated to be an 11-day walk. It took them 40 years. Each time they disregarded God or disobeyed, not just during this journey, but throughout the biblical history we find in the Old Testament, they found themselves scattered, exiled or in captivity.

Each time God delivered them they were thankful and back at the altar singing His praises and within a short number of years, they would all fall away again. And the cycle repeated. It seemed to always take some form of cataclysmic event for them to return to God. Some form of tragedy before they realized how far off the charts they had gone.

Our nation is no different. How many times do we need another September 11, 2001 for us to come together and put differences aside? Do we need another world war? Do we need another civil war? How about we have none of the above? Maybe if we could come back to God now, as one nation, we wouldn’t face exile, captivity, or some great tragedy.

I don’t have the answers, but it is my hope and prayer we as a country can return to God and maybe we can see healing take place within our nation.

Psalm 91 is believed to have been written by Moses, who suffered through many of the hardships with the Israelite people. After completing the construction of the Tabernacle in the desert Moses had these words to say in Psalm 91:9-16 (I encourage you to read the full chapter):

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

It would be of great comfort if we too could be in such fellowship with God and in such unity with each other that we could feel this way.

REV. BARRY VASSAR is pastor at Fitzgerald Memorial Baptist. He can be reached at fitzgeraldmemorial@gmail.com.