In God We Trust – Day Twenty-Eight

“We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us. It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.”
Those words aptly describe the spiritual condition of America today, but they were written more than 150 years ago! They are part of a proclamation given by President Abraham Lincoln on March 30, 1863. The proclamation called for a national day of prayer and fasting to be held on April 30 of the same year. America was two years into the Civil War at that time with seemingly no end in sight. Mr. Lincoln, along with many others, knew they needed God to intervene if the fighting were ever to stop, and if America would once again be one nation. On April 30, 1863, thousands of churches and individuals all across America fasted and prayed, asking for God’s help. Two days later on May 2, an accidental shooting occurred that altered the course of the war. General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, one of the greatest tactical commanders in American history, was accidentally shot by his own men as he and others returned to camp after fighting in the Battle of Chancellorsville. Jackson died 8 days later as a result of those wounds. “Stonewall” Jackson was a military genius who could take 1000 men and defeat an army of 10,000! His death took the heart and soul out of the Confederate Army. The South experienced many victories in the first two years of the Civil War, but they were few and far between after the death of Jackson. Was his death God’s answer to the prayers of thousands on April 30, 1863? Most military historians point to his death as the turning point of the war. But don’t feel bad for Jackson, he was a devout Christian saying on the day of his death, “It is the Lord’s Day; my wish is fulfilled. I have always desired to die on Sunday.” His last words before dying were, “Let us cross over the river, and rest under the shade of the trees.”
We are “one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all” as a result of President Lincoln’s resolve to keep “the union together,” and his confidence in a sovereign God to intervene on the behalf of all Americans.
America is once again deeply divided, this time along political lines, in addition to many other issues. The upcoming election is a crucial time in this “new civil war.” We need to humble ourselves, fast, and pray for God’s intervention. We may not see an immediate answer, and we may never know what means God may use to answer our prayers. What we do know is that He does hear our prayers, He does care, He loves us, He is sovereign, and will answer in His time.
“Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is” (Jeremiah 17:7).
“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us” (1 John 5:14).