When I was a very young child, maybe two or three years old, my Dad hung the painting pictured above on the wall at the head of my bed. Through the years as I grew, I decorated my room with many photos, pennants, pictures, and the like, but that small painting always remained in place.
Many years later, for our tenth anniversary, my husband, Rick, had it re-framed for me (the frame had come to know its share of bumps and bruises over the years), and now, thirty-one years hence, it still hangs on the wall at the head of our bed.
My Dad passed away seven years ago last month. I miss him terribly, but I am thankful that he has not had to witness the devastation of his beloved country that has occurred since his passing. His heart would be heavy with grief and mourning.
Somehow, despite its long nearly sixty-year history, and the loving memories that history rekindles, the message that my Dad's painting portrays -- of the power of prayer, and the need to turn to His Word for guidance and direction -- has intensified in significance for us over the past few months.
from men whose words are perverse,
who leave the straight paths to walk in dark ways,
who delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the perverseness of evil,
whose paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways ... Prov 2:12-15
Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they decieve the minds of naive people ... Rom 16:17-18
Heavenly Father, forgive us for what we have done.
You have prospered our nation for more than two centuries. You have strengthened us when we were weak, provided for us when we were without provision, directed us when we were willing to follow your guidance, blessed us when we were undeserving of blessings.
We have walked far from the path you laid out for us. We have betrayed those who sacrificed so dearly for our benefit. We have become lazy, allowing ourselves to be easily ensnared by carefully-crafted words and empty promises, delivered by men who worship self, who seek to oppress and control their fellow man, and who place no value in truth and goodness.
We have transformed prosperity into decadence; allegiance and duty into indulgence and complacency.
We have taken the gifts that only you can bestow (Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you ... 2 Tim 1:14) and placed them in the hands of men whose will is arbitrary and whose agenda is tyranny. The road ahead is dark, and steep, and fraught with danger –- made intentionally so by those who intend to ‘lead’ us, deceptively, through the fog they have created, and over the minefields they have laid.
Help us to continue to have faith in our own individualism, to insulate ourselves from the cacophony that surrounds us, and to listen for your gentle whispers. For we know that it is in heeding those whispers that our future security lies.
We cling to the knowledge that you work in miracles, when it is your will to do so. We pray that, if it not be praying against that will, you would help us to acknowledge what we have lost, muster the courage to reclaim it, and look to you once again in that endeavor for the strength, wisdom, and guidance and that only you can provide.
We have already come;
'Tis grace hath brought us safe thus far,
And grace will lead us home.