Just over 150 years ago our nation was embroiled in a harrowing Civil War. Two years into the conflict there had already been over 500,000 casualties – over 500,000 dead and wounded with the promise of hundreds of thousands more. Congress urged President Lincoln to call the nation to prayer, to seek God’s grace in the face of such devastation. He signed a proclamation declaring that April 30, 1863 would be a day of prayer, fasting and humiliation – a day in which he asked all Americans to humbly call on God in repentance and acknowledgement of God’s provision.
Today our nation is embroiled in a different Civil War – different but no less harrowing. Instead of North vs South it is Rich vs Poor, Black vs White, Democrat vs Republican and even Religion vs Religion. And the list goes on and on – Rural vs Urban, White Collar vs Blue Collar, Old vs Young. Isn’t it obvious that, in the midst of the American Civil War that is raging around us, we must join with our forefathers of 150 years ago and fall on our faces before a Holy God – recognizing His holiness and our depravity – and, in that humility, fast and pray for His restoration of our Union.
No political solution will do. While courts can hear our arguments, they cannot hear our prayers. While politicians can promise an end to crime and violence there is no presidential candidate who can stop the evil one or forgive our sin. No congressional body or government program or regulatory agency can heal our land. And no political movement, march, or hashtag campaign can produce an end to our collective ills. God and God alone has the power to restore us and that restoration will not be known as American Exceptionalism. It will be known around the world as the Exceptional Work of God. We’ve tried to fix things on our own. Maybe now we can go to the One who made us a nation and ask Him to repair what He established in the first place.