Time for National Soul Searching?

A couple days before our first son was born, we made a trip into town to see the doctor. Storm clouds mushroomed in the west. We watched as a tornado followed us for several miles before lifting.

We were blissfully unaware of the threat to the family farm. My mother-in-law was home alone with several of her kids. They hurried to the basement and knelt in prayer as the tornado roared past a quarter mile away. A torrent of hailstones hammered the farm.

We arrived home a few hours later to find that the hail had mowed down our bumper crop of wheat. Trees were uprooted. Twenty-two windows were broken in the two houses. It was a defining moment in our lives: within a couple days, our baby was born and we began to make plans to leave the farm.

But, back to the subject. During that storm, the wind was so strong that it drove shafts of wheat into a tree trunk. And yet, no one was injured. The livestock were okay. The houses and all of the farm buildings were spared.

That scene of the family kneeling in prayer? It flashed through my mind recently as we listened to the evening news.

The news gave me indigestion. Hurricanes devastated large parts of the South and East Coast. An inferno burned in California. Drought was destroyed farms in the middle states. Our enemies paraded through the streets in our military equipment. There were more Covid cases in the state than last year. Locally, every ICU bed was filled.

I thought, “Our world is in trouble. We need help!” Then I remembered the words of Jesus: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV)

That family kneeling in prayer many years ago? They weren’t asking a distant God for help. They prayed before every meal. They piled into the car every Sunday and attended church together. When an emergency came, they already had God’s attention.

America was founded on Christian principles, but we’ve drifted away from the things that made us a light in the dark world. It’s like the scripture from Judges 17:6: “In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.” As a nation, we no longer see God as the king of our lives. A recent president even called us a post-Christian nation.

Columnist Star Parker has said that maybe it’s time to do some national soul-searching. I agree. We’ve swum far out into the sea of self-reliance, and it’s time to make a change. It’s time to turn back to God. We need to seek him out and to teach our children to rely on him. Then we will find the peace in the storm that Jesus promised to those who seek him.

Sept. 19 is Back to Church Sunday. Thousands of churches across the country will roll out the welcome mat that day. They can offer you a spiritual home, a place to worship God, and they are a place to nurture your faith and develop new friendships. If you don’t have a church home, check out www.backtochurch.com.

For further reading: America’s Godly Heritage by David Barton; The Light and the Glory by Peter Marshall and David Manuel; and The History of Prayer in America by Fern Nilson.

Writing Update

September is a busy month, but Covid pandemic has changed some plans.

Sept. 16, speaking at Augusta Place retirement community in Bismarck. I’ve been asked to wear a mask, so that will be a new challenge.

Sept. 22, radio interview on KNDR-FM. This is to promote Cottonwood Dreams and the upcoming vendor show.

Sept. 25, Northbrook Vendor Show at Northbrook Mall, on north Washington. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Sept. 28, tentatively scheduled to record a chapter of Cottonwood Dreams with Humanities of North Dakota.

Oct. 1-2, I was looking forward to traveling to the Black Hills for the S.D. Festival of Books. However, due to Covid, the conference will be online again this year.

Final Word

The Bible says to count it all joy as various trials come upon you, so praise the Lord and trust him to see us through these interesting times.