The Standard July 9, 2020
The United States of America is a work in progress. Some people use the label
“The Great Experiment” for what our Founding Fathers started. As a country we have celebrated tremendous victories and have faced numerous setbacks. The preamble of the U.S. Constitution says, “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” The goal of forming a more perfect union did not result in perfection, but in a system which hopefully continues to improve in offering freedom and opportunities for everyone. It would be difficult to overestimate the number of people who dream of coming to live freely in this “land of opportunity.”
Many of the early colonists came to the New World to flee religious persecution. Despite this fact, in various places and at various times in our early history, Quakers, Catholics, Huguenots, Puritans, Jewish people and others did not encounter freedom to practice their faith without reprisal. Tragically, contrary to the ideal that all people were created equal, countless men, women and children from Africa were enslaved. The Declaration of Independence states that, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” yet slavery continued for over 200 years, not being abolished until 1865. Women were not afforded the right to vote until 1920. This country has come a long way in breaking down racial and gender barriers. We still have room for improvement.
Living up to our ideals is a difficult proposition. The struggle is true for us as individuals as well as for any country. In the midst of a global pandemic, economic uncertainty and a national conversation on racial issues some people fear that our country is facing more unrest than ever before. None of this is a surprise to God. The Lord reigns. God counsels us as individuals and as nations to trust his sovereignty while continuously seeking what is right and just. “All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him, for dominion belongs to the Lord and he rules over the nations.” (Psalm 22:27-28) “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts.” (Psalm 46:1-6)