As an American, I am dismayed when I look at what our country has become. And yet, as a Christian I remain filled with hope. As long as faith lives, hope thrives. As long as life remains, the future survives. As long as belief is sustained, dismay can never turn to despair.
Our greatest enemy is not Statism. It is not Islam. It is not Socialism or Communism or Nazism or Fascism.
Our greatest enemy is despair. We are never more vulnerable than when we lose hope. Our enemies never stand a greater chance of robbing our children of their legacy of Liberty than when we say "America is dead. She cannot be saved."
Shame on us all for ever uttering those vile words. Shame on us for losing faith. Shame on us for forgetting who we are, from whence we came and where we are called to go.
Our enemies seek to change our society by murmuring half truths like a mosquito buzzing an annoying and misleading mantra designed to demoralize us.
"America is a secular country!" they shout angrily, demonstrating their tolerance and love of peace and diversity by shaking their fists and wagging their fingers at our "insignificance."
And they are wrong. Not just mistaken. They know the truth. They are deliberately wrong. In short, they lie.
America is not a Nation of a single religion but we are a Nation built on many religions, all of which place their hope for a better future in the Same God. Judaism, Catholicism, Orthodoxy, Protestantism in all its facets. We all share the same God and it is impossible for those who do not share that God to truly understand the roots of the Hope with which we have been Blessed.
Divine Hope in the story of America is not an abstract ideal. It is the very seed from which this mighty tree has grown.
The darkness which enveloped Europe began to spread to the European colonies the world over. Monarchs had become decrepit. The aristocracy wove itself into its own hedonism. Human beings became chattel. And all that was brought to the New World. The darkness which had taken deep root in Europe was barely germinating in the colonies when something miraculous happened. Divine Providence re-enacted Genesis. The God we all share Whispered "Let there be Light," and the Light of Liberty exploded.
The saying "the light at the end of tunnel" is well known, but how many of us have taken the time to truly think about what that means? When you spend a great deal of time in darkness and suddenly the lights come on, everything becomes all too bright. The rest of the world disappears because the light is all you see. We become - literally - "blinded by the light." Our blindness is not true blindness, however. When one is truly blind, one sees nothing. When one is blinded by the light, one sees everything which matters and nothing which doesn't. One sees the light and all else pales in comparison.
Like the Chosen People in the desert, God led the world through the tunnel of darkness and into the light. In doing so, He Gave us an obligation: we are duty bound to blind the world by showing them the Light of Liberty, by shining it so brightly that the darkness disappears. He does not Expect us to do this by our own power, but rather to do so by acting as 400 million tiny mirrors, each reflecting a little of the Light He Gave us.
Fiat lux! Let there be light. Let there be the Light of Liberty. It is our destiny and obligation to speak those words to the world, without ceasing and without apology.
Today, however, we are wavering. Instead of reflecting the Light of Liberty, we focus our gaze on the darkness. Our faith wanes. Our hope weakens. Our mirrors lose their shine.
Many times in history, the darkness came close to overwhelming the light, not in reality but in minds and hearts which had become devoid of hope. Yet, Light always wins out in the end. No night ever lasts. Darkness cannot remain in the light of day but hope can thrive in the darkest night.
There have always been Maccabees, those who believed in the Light even when darkness was all they could see. They would light a candle or a lamp while others cursed the darkness. Did they have enough oil to last until the darkness ended? It didn't matter. The fuel was always more than oil or wood or coal or paper. The fuel was Hope and Hope came as a Gift from the Source of All Light.
America needs Maccabees today. Our Great Nation needs those who will light candles, hundreds of millions of candles. The Light will overwhelm the darkness. We will be blinded and so will the world. Our laughter will ring from mountains to valleys to deserts to the oceans. Our tears will blur our vision but the Light will dazzle us nevertheless.
Because that is the Nature of Light. That is the Nature of Faith. That is the Nature of Hope. And those are the things we must neither lose nor permit our enemies to steal from us.
And when the sky was starless,
In the void of the night,
He Spoke into the darkness
And Created the Light!
Our God Is An Awesome God!
(Michael W. Smith)
Yes, America is exceptional. We are a miracle. We are impossible by an human standard. But - as President Reagan reminded us so eloquently - we are the Shining City on the Hill and it is our destiny to blind the world. And as a result, they will finally be cured and see the Light.
Do you dare to hope, to believe, to fight, to work, to shine? Do you dare to be one of America's Maccabees?