Submitted by Bruce Osborn — Director of Spiritual Development, YMCA at Pabst Farms

I forget a lot of things.  And the older I get, the more difficulty I have remembering simple things.  Names, associations, dates, birthdays, and everyday occurrences can slip through my memory without even a thought.  Call it old age if you like, but I think most of it comes from complacency, comfort with the normal routine, or an ever-increasing self-sufficiency; my own ability to control that which is closest to me, and unconsciously letting go of the things I can’t – forgetting.

Every generation, it seems, has dealt with this memory deficiency when it comes to God.  The Israelites, God’s chosen people, continually struggled with remembering God as their provider.  You can find multiple stories in their history when they strayed, God jogged their memory through judgment, and they returned to Him.

In March, 1863, making proclamation of the first National Day of Prayer and Fasting, Abraham Lincoln spoke these words, “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.”

Even today, our generation is wandering.  God’s ways are no longer considered.  The moral laws of Scripture have been cast aside to satisfy the sway of modern culture.  We have become more concerned with offending man than God.  You may not agree, but I think that many of the concerns facing our society today stem from a reliance on ourselves, on others, and not on God.  We, as a nation, as a generation, have turned from God.  In the words of Abraham Lincoln, “We have forgotten God.”

If this is true, who is called to turn the tide?  According to God, we Christians are; those of us who are “called by His Name.”  2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “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.”  Those of us who have been redeemed and have surrendered our lives to His Lordship, we are called to lead the return to God.  We must be the ones to seek His face.  We must be the ones to turn from ourselves and back to Him and His ways.  It is us to whom God calls out to return to Him.  And when we do, He will fulfill His promise to hear us, forgive us, and heal the land.

It starts with one.  One person who will pray.  One individual who will turn from his or her own desires and humbly seek the face of Jesus.  One who will say no to the constant pull of modern culture and yes to God’s ways.  One passionate soul leads to two.  And soon a culture of seeking God begins to develop.  I’m not talking about posting your favorite verse on social media then going about your everyday life.  This requires genuine hunger for God and a turning from ourselves to Him and His ways.  It involves surrender.  It involves sacrifice.  Will you be the one to lead the charge?  Your humble seeking of God could shift a culture that could open the doors of heaven and heal this land. 

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