Wandering in the Wilderness
July 1, 2018 | View PDF
Because of my Biblical worldview, for which I do not apologize, my view of current culture and events is filtered through that belief, and I can’t help but reflect on the similarities of the mindset of many in our nation with that of the Israelites many centuries ago.
After generations of captivity in Egypt, the Israelites were finally free of the tyranny of their harsh taskmasters and were being led by Moses into their Promised Land. But as with anything worthwhile, the journey wasn’t easy. You remember the story – they were soon grumbling about the traveling conditions – with many thinking that maybe life wasn’t so bad back in Egypt. You also know the rest of the story – their disobedience and unbelief in God resulted in their forty years of wandering in the wilderness.
It’s our human nature to crave a belief in something or someone, and that same human nature tends to make idols of the things we crave most. And in the world of politics, that idol is government and power. Sadly, as our culture has drifted further from placing our faith in God, our citizens have also allowed government to become our idol with an ever-increasing appetite for government to solve all ills of our society regardless of the cost. Government has become our god.
I suppose I reflect a bit more on our dependence on government this time of year as I see the red, white, and blue adornments at retail establishments in preparation for the festivities surrounding our nation’s birthday. I wonder how many Americans consider that the proper reference to the holiday is Independence Day rather than the 4th of July, but perhaps that’s a fitting refinement as we continue to move further away from any semblance of independence from our government.
We tend to forget that liberty means putting more distance between us and the government, not less. We live in a nation where freedom was bought with the blood of patriots willing to sacrifice everything for freedom, and yet we seem so willing to let it slip away by giving government the ability to control our lives. We constantly ask for government to “fix” our healthcare system, our schools, our broken families, and our poverty-stricken neighborhoods without recognizing that an over-reaching government was the root cause of so many of those problems.
Yet we continue to wrestle with the same issues election cycle after election cycle. It would appear that those we elect are wandering through the same wilderness, except that I’m far more inclined to be of the opinion that not solving problems is the political end game, particularly for those elected to multiple terms, as unsolved problems provide ample campaign fodder for the next run for office. The repeated failure by both political parties to address our serious border/immigration problem is a prime example as we have one party beholden to the special interests profiting from cheap labor, with the other committed to open borders in an effort to expand their political base. In the middle are Americans who are being deliberately misled regarding past administration’s policies, and emotionally manipulated by a mainstream media with a leftist bias. This is the same media that essentially condones the inhumane tactics of Planned Parenthood and the horrendous practice of late-term abortion by labeling it as a choice.
We all have our idols, and I confess that political activism was one of mine with my misplaced hope and trust in a political system. When I was at the height of that activism season, I remember being consumed with all things political, unable to get enough news regarding politics at any level, and, shamefully, the insider gossip that was embedded in it. Politics is intoxicating and addicting, and in my case, I allowed it to affect my emotions by keeping me in a state of perpetual anger, and forgetting that my real enemy is a spiritual one who works day and night to bring chaos into this world. While I have not and will not completely abandon my political involvement because I consider it a responsibility owed as a citizen, I now realize that I must place healthy boundaries on my participation and remove it from its idol status in my life.
So I will reflect this Independence Day on the many blessings provided to our great nation, but with the knowledge that misplaced hope and faith in politics and our government rather than fully in my LORD God can only draw me deeper into the wilderness, and into a place that will never bring me, or anyone else, true and everlasting peace.