The other day I was listening to a local radio talk show. The guests and the host were discussing the problems in our state and lamenting the downturn in business and the difficulties suffered by restaurants and other small businesses. I think that we all agree that this is a horrendous situation. The speakers on the show were mostly blaming our governor and other officials who are using this world wide tragedy as a platform to bring in more restrictions and limitations on free speech.
I listened and thought on that for a while. On the surface, some, or even many, of these allegations may be true, but then God showed me another way to look at it. The citizens of our country have had the liberty of free speech for several hundred years. We have had much freedom and many opportunities to build businesses and create schools and hospitals and libraries and so many other avenues of expression and enterprise for ourselves. What have people done with this great freedom of speech and opportunity? Has God been magnified? Have our enterprises uplifted others? Has it been clear to the world that the blessings that we have enjoyed come from the living God whom we serve?
It’s true that some of these freedoms have been successfully used for the benefit of mankind and our country has been very generous to charities that do uplift many. In the past our country was like a beacon on a hill, calling to the world’s oppressed and mistreated. However, that same freedom has been used to mock God, destroy his worthy name and create businesses that lead many down a road of debauchery. We have also used this freedom to build ourselves magnificent homes, go on luxurious vacations, and create entertainments that fill our lives with godless meaninglessness. We have become a country of overabundance and wastefulness. Our magnificent Father, God, has been relegated to a small and insignificant corner of many lives, and even kicked out of most daily activities. It’s clear that we have had freedom of speech and have abused it.
So, why do we blame our leaders for what is happening? Why do we continue searching for scapegoats? It’s our own fault. In the days of Daniel the prophet, King Belshazzar was in his palace drinking wine and praising the gods of gold, silver, and brass etc. Just then, he saw part of a man’s hand writing on the wall. It wrote, “Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin.” No one was able to explain it to the king, until the queen told the king that there was a man named Daniel, full of wisdom and understanding, who could explain it to the king. Daniel was able to translate the whole sentence, part of which – tekel – meant “thou art weighed in the balances and are found wanting.” When the main desires of our lives are to yearn for more and more money or more and more material goods and beautiful houses filled with expensive furnishings, are we any better than King Belshazzar? Perhaps we have been weighed in the balances and found wanting.
We should not look for others to blame. We should look inside of ourselves and see what it is inside of us that is wanting in God’s sight. Why did God give us free will? Why did He allow us to pursue freedom of expression? What if He were to let us continue going on down this same avenue? How bad could it get? Would the actions of the majority make it impossible for the increasing minority of those who truly love God to continue?
God never allows difficulties in our lives unless He intends them to produce something good. Could He be allowing this to happen to us so that we have the opportunity to change? Just because we are found wanting does not mean we have to stay that way. Therefore, we should not look at this pandemic as a curse, but as an opportunity to look at ourselves and change the negatives into positives, to turn from those ways and seek God. We can pray for our country, help our fellow citizens and pray for as many as possible to look within and to see where we need to change our motivations, after which both our individual and collective behavior will follow suit. Because we will turn our hearts to God, we can then pray to Him and He will listen and heal both us and our country. (2 Chronicles 7:14)