When I look back at how life, as we know it, has changed in just my short 60 years, I can’t help but question what has brought this about. How did we go from Father Knows Best and Ozzie & Harriet to Pretty Little Liars and Fifty Shades of Grey? Growing up in the Bible belt, it was the rare family in my neighborhood that didn’t attend worship services of some kind each week. We cared about one another and, as children, we could play outside without someone on constant watch. In school, part of our learning involved the Bible. I still remember learning the 23rd Psalm as a first grader. Sure, life had its tough moments, but we were intentional in honoring God and country.
Someone decided they didn’t like the idea of God in our schools and while we were striving for the American dream, He was expelled. He was and is no longer welcome. I certainly am not smart enough to give you the full run-down of our downward spiral from where we were to where we are, but I do know that my grandchildren are up against things I never dreamed of as a child. I shudder to think of the pictures and language and perversion that is so easily accessible to them. My heart breaks at the celebration of books and movies that deceive us into believing brazen lies of what makes us happy and fulfilled.
Father God, we have failed as Your people to speak truth with love to those around us. We have been more concerned with the things happening within our own four walls. To make ourselves more comfortable, somewhere along the way, we stripped You of who You are in Your fullness and re-designed You to fit our desires. We have removed the cross and the blood because it might offend someone. We have narrowed down Your character and attributes to a list of one: Love. Yes, You are absolutely a God of LOVE, but You are also just and wise and faithful and holy. Each of these, and Your other attributes, is blanketed with Your amazing love. What we’ve done is to reduce You to OUR definition of love. We’ve decided sin isn’t really a problem; after all, isn’t that the point of grace?! A truly loving God would let us do what we want without consequence, right?
As I think about all this, Father, it hits me that what has happened to us is that we’ve lost our FEAR of You.
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7)
You have become our buddy, our pal, our genie in a bottle. We’ve forgotten You are the Sovereign Creator of all that exists, as well as the Sustainer of every life. We give more respect and reverence to our earthly “kings” than we do to You. In our minds and hearts, You have become little and we have become big. We decide what’s right and wrong and call Your Word old-fashioned and irrelevant to our times. We have fallen for the lies fed to us by the enemy of our souls.
“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5: 20)
Thank You, Father, that You absolutely are, without a doubt, a God of love. Thank You that You love me so much that You have given me boundaries; boundaries designed to protect and teach me; boundaries that allow me to experience Your very best for my life.
“You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11)
Because we have lost our fear of You, our hearts have become calloused toward You. We just want You there to “fix” things when they get too big for us. Otherwise, we simply don’t need You or want You in our way.
None of us would put up with the abuse we pile on You, yet You never, ever waver in Your love for us. You continue to love us even when we make really, really bad choices. All You ask is for our repentance; a broken and contrite heart.
“If My people who are called by My name 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 Chronicles 7:14)
Open our eyes, Lord, to see You and our hearts to know You – REALLY know You. May we once again tremble at the awesomeness of being welcomed into Your throne room; a welcoming made possible only by the precious blood of Jesus spilled on a cruel cross for each of us. May we remember Your bigness and our smallness.
Lots of love, Sharon