My Country, ‘Tis of Thee

Image by Ingi Finnsson from Pixabay

“Hear the supplications of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and when you hear, forgive.” – King Solomon, 2 Chronicles 6:21 (NIV)

Over the 23 years I’ve written my weekly newspaper column, and hence this blog, I’ve avoided controversial topics. I figure you all get enough—more than enough, perhaps—of that elsewhere. My purpose has always been to give hope, to show that faith and life go hand in hand, that God cares intimately for each of us and is with us every moment of every day.

But I’ve had a heavy heart for my country—and it’s getting heavier.

No, I still will not address the hot button topics here, but I will address what I believe our response, as Christians, should be.

First, read, meditate, know, and obey the Word. Let it permeate every fiber of your being. Allow God to use His Word to transform you from the inside out—heart, mind, and soul. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).

Next—pray! For revival to sweep the nation, one soul at a time. For the Holy Spirit to ignite the faith of believers and fill our places of worship—and us. For eyes to be opened to the truth, for hearts to be softened to receive the seed of the Word, for strength and courage to be Psalm 1 men and women.

Finally, be salt and light. “You are the salt of the earth,” Jesus said. “But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?. . .You are the light of the world. . . .Let your light shine before men” (Matthew 5:13–16).

How can you be salt and light? Simple: Live the Word.

And while we must stand up for that which we know is right, we must be careful not to judge other folks.

“Do not judge,” Jesus said, “or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you too will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Matthew 7:1–2).

“For I did not come to judge the world,” Jesus said, “but to save it” (John 12:47). “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him” (John 3:17).

Judgment Day is coming, be sure of that. But until then, remember the words of Billy Graham: “It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge, and my job to love.”

I just keep asking myself, “What would Jesus do?”

May we continue to pray as George Washington did on the inauguration of this country (April 30, 1789):

Almighty God, we make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy Holy protection; and Thou wilt incline the hearts of the Citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to Government; and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their fellow Citizens of the United States at large, and particularly for their brethren who have served in the Field.

     “And finally that Thou wilt most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that Charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind which were the Characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed Religion, and without a humble imitation of whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation. Grant our supplication, we beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

 Read and reflect on 2 Chronicles 6:12–42.

(Source for prayer: http://www.propheticroundtable.org/ForeFathers/GeorgeWashington/A%20Prayer.htm)

Faith Farming

Maxine greets Corinne.

Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. –Mark 11:24 NKJV

Maxine was sick. Critically sick. The year-and-a-half–old Alpine goat had broken into the grain bin and helped herself to way too much for her stomach to digest.

Now, I thought goats could eat anything, and it wouldn’t harm them. Not so.

A goat, I learned, has four compartments in its stomach, the first of which is called the rumen. It is here that healthy bacteria begin to digest the food before passing it on. If the healthy bacteria are destroyed—by eating too much grain, for example—the goat can’t digest its food. The decaying food and unhealthy bacteria that linger in the rumen can quickly become toxic, leading to an agonizing death. This condition is called abomasal bloat. Approximately 75 percent of animals with aboomasal bloat die.

When Maxine’s owner, my friend Corinne, realized her precious goat was ill and why, she immediately called the vet.

“It took us hours to get as much IV fluids, injections, and antibiotics to keep her from toxicity, and pumping her stomach full of mineral oil, baking soda, and a laxative to help her dislodge the grain,” Corinne posted on her Facebook page.

She asked for prayer.

“I’ve been crying nonstop over my precious goat,” she said. “I can’t do anything more. I need God to intervene. She needs her rumen to work.”

The pressure from the stomach gas on Maxine’s heart and lungs caused her to groan with every breath.

“It’s excruciating for me, and exhausting for her,” Corinne said.

But still she persisted in prayer, singing praise and worship songs to Maxine every night and “speaking life over a goat that was dying.”

Through the following week, Maxine received treatment for pain, bloat, a damaged rumen, sepsis, and muscle breakdown. She was given a 10 percent chance of surviving.

But Maxine beat the odds.

“Maxine is loved. She is healing. She is a miracle,” Corinne posted on Facebook.

You see, Corinne takes God at His Word. Jesus said to ask, so she isn’t afraid to ask mountain-sized requests. He said to knock, so she knocks and keeps on knocking until the door opens (Matthew 7:7–8).

She takes to heart the words of the Son of God when He said, “Whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.  Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them (Mark 11:23–24 NKJV).

“God is good,” Corinne said. “And even if it would turn differently today, I would know that He is still good. I’m just glad I can still hug her neck, squeeze her little lips, and touch foreheads with her.”

I wish I were more like Corinne. Too often I let doubt eat away at my faith.

I need to remember what Corinne said: “If my Father is able to hear our heart cries over a sick goat, He’s able to hear your cries over what your heart is speaking.”

The next time I wrestle with doubt, that enemy of faith, I’ll remember a dying goat that lived—all because her owner believed in the power of prayer.

Help me, Lord, to have the kind of faith that moves mountains. Destroy every seed of doubt in me. Amen.

Read and reflect on Matthew 7:7–11; Mark 11:22–24; James 1:6–8.

Maxine and Lucy

© 2020 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. Photos by Corinne States (c) 2020 Corinne States. Used with permission.