Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Outlook (06/02/11)
TITLE: Happy Days Lost?
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I was born in the “happy days” of the 50’s. Some say the Civil Rights Movement made it less so, but the nation as a whole, and the family in particular seemed to be, well, more wholesome. Collectively we experienced church on Sunday, family vacations and backyard barbecues. Now, in the ‘post 9/11’ era, I ask myself what lessons have Americans learned from their predecessors? Have we emulated the sacrifices and courage of past generations? Have we adopted their values and carried on their traditions of God, family and country? Has American grown in character and become more altruistic, or has it ‘dropped the baton’ and become more self-centered and devoid of soul?
I see signs pointing in both directions. Americans are the most giving nation on earth. We have volunteer soldiers, risking life and limb daily, while their families courageously await their return. Service organizations of ordinary citizens have sprung up from the tragedies of Haiti, Katrina, and other natural disasters. Witness a park, in any town, on any given weekend and you’ll see throngs of neighbors willing to walk anywhere from 3k to 3-days for a good cause. It makes me proud.
But then, I only have to flip the channels of my TV to find that there are not only ‘desperate housewives,’ but ‘real housewives’, from Beverly Hills to New York. I find that yesterday’s shadowy population, with questionable lifestyles, has given way to in-your-face high school students who are experimenting with alternate gender lifestyles. Divorce is so common that intact families are becoming the exception. The inner-city gang problem has expanded into the suburbs. Teen sex is the norm and subsequent abortions and/or single parent families are a tragic byproduct. And drugs and alcohol are at epidemic levels, contributing to the overpopulation of our prisons.
Why am I still hopeful? Can the outlook for our decline ever change? The Bible says, “Where sin abounds, my grace much more abounds”. Social reforms, government intervention, and the like, will only go so far to mitigate these issues. America needs a revival! We need an ‘army’ of believers leading the charge on their knees! True change happens in the heart when God dwells there. He is the only answer to today’s dilemmas.
Would grandma and grandpa recognize America today? While they might be shocked to witness our current decline or to watch a segment of ‘Jersey Shore’, knowing their strong faith, they would be on their knees praying for our nation. It’s what they did. Family prayer time wasn’t just a Rockwell cover for the Saturday Evening Post. It’s what I remember doing every evening with my own parents, and it’s what I must continue to do if America’s modern version of ‘happy days’ is to ever return.
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chron. 7:14
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