JAMES ROBISON — America is accustomed to comfort. Russian-exiled prisoner Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn commented in the late 1970s that America was soft because the people were spoiled. He questioned whether we would have the moral resolve to stand up to the atheistic “evil empire” of the Soviets as it threatened world peace. Fortunately, we elected a strong president in 1980 who actively opposed the communists and ended decades of oppression for millions of people.
Today we face similar challenges. It is possible that terrorism will not be the ultimate culprit should the West collapse. Our real Achilles’ heel may very well be the idolization of comfort. By this, I do not mean comfort in the sense of bringing peace of mind to those in distress. Scriptures refer to the Holy Spirit as the Comforter, so there is certainly nothing wrong with comfort in the biblical sense.
No, I am referring to comfort as material substitute for conviction, a worldly opiate providing a false sense of security. Many Americans look to possessions, privilege, and leisure for comfort. We measure success by the state of the economy. We judge political parties and elected officials by whether they improve our economic status. We bow to the throne of the almighty dollar.
But terrorism endangers our economy. Rising gas prices threaten our pocketbooks. Illegal immigration raises questions about our security. If our standard is comfort, then we are in trouble.
I am convinced that pressure will strengthen our character. If it takes economic pressure to get our attention — to get us to become one nation under God, with His principles guiding our lives and our future — then it will likely happen. If we insist on making material gain our god, on having no regard for moral values as long as we are financially strong, then our future is bleak.
God has blessed America and, as a result, her people have prospered. More than any other nation in history, we are uniquely positioned in the world to alleviate suffering and help those in need. America — her people, corporations, and government — has improved the lives of billions of people by promoting human rights, free trade, and humanitarian aid beyond our own borders. America consistently provides positive political, moral, and economic leadership.
Yet at the same time a dark underside thrives. Drug abuse creates a worldwide black market for narcotics, spawning crimes beyond substance abuse. The back alleys of Hollywood produce pornographic material that eats away at healthy relationships. High-powered, well-funded lobbyists buy influence in the halls of legislation.
At the center of America’s paradox of blessing and exploitation lies a culture war whose winner will mold the America that must respond to the pressures of tomorrow.
We must come to understand that morals have more value than money. People are more important than profits. Are we a nation controlled by lust for material gain or a people compelled to help those in need? Are we marked by our immoral passions or by our compassionate giving?
If it takes the loss of material comfort to reshape our thinking and compel us to return to absolute principles, then perhaps that day is coming — and maybe very soon. We should not wait For God to bring such judgment upon us. Our nation’s character must be strengthened to withstand the pressures that await us. That strength will only come with a change of heart, a change of mind, and a change of measure.
Read 1 John 2:15-17.
Adapted from the Book, The Soul of a Nation: 30 days, 30 issues, 30 prayers, by James Robison. (Thos. Nelson, 2008)