I had already written today’s essay when the thought gripped me: If God could write a letter to our grieving nation, what might he say? I feel compelled to answer that question this morning. I believe his letter could read as follows:
“I love you. I formed your continent in my heart long before I fashioned it from the seas. Its majestic peaks and fertile plains were painted by my Spirit on the canvas of its vast beauty. I have given you resources unsurpassed by any other nation. Then I called Pilgrims and Puritans to your shores, courageous pioneers who would bring my word to your great continent. I sparked a hunger for liberty that led farmers and merchants to risk their lives in its pursuit. When they declared that ‘all men are created equal,’ they spoke truth I inspired in their souls.
“Your nation prospered as no other nation in history. Out of immigrants the world over you became a single people from sea to sea. In time you built the strongest economy and greatest military in human history. You made In God We Trust your national motto and pledge allegiance to ‘one nation under God.’
“Yet your people are hurting today. Your economy is weaker than at any time since the Great Depression, while natural disasters are costing you more than ever before in your history. On this day after 9/11, you continue the longest war you have ever fought against an enemy who will stop at nothing to kill your citizens and impose their ideology on your people.
“I grieve with you this morning. I wept yesterday with every family member who lost someone they loved on 9/11. I feel your fear for your safety today, as you worry over the next attack, the next economic setback, the next calamity.
“I want to bless you today. I have a plan to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). But I can give only what you are willing to receive. I will guide you, but you must follow me. I will help you, but you must trust me.
“What am I waiting for you to do?
“My commandments for living are clear. Since most of you do not know them, I will give them to you again.
One: have no other gods before me (Exodus 20:3). Do you worship and serve foreign gods today?
Two: make nothing that you worship (vs. 4-6). Do you place a higher priority on your possessions than your God?
Three: do not misuse my name (v. 7). How often do your movies, television shows, and music mock me?
Four: keep the Sabbath holy (vs. 8-11). When last did you set aside a day for worship and rest?
Five: honor your father and mother (v. 12). Do your people respect or ignore their elders?
Six: do not murder (v. 13). Twice as many crimes are committed in America as any other nation.
Seven: you shall not commit adultery (v. 14). Pornography makes more money in America than Apple, Microsoft, eBay, Amazon, Yahoo, Google, and Netflix—combined.
Eight: you shall not steal (v. 15). Identity theft alone costs Americans $47 billion a year.
Nine: you shall not lie (v. 16). Your culture has taught you that all ‘truth’ is personal and subjective. As a result, surveys indicate that 93% of you lie regularly.
Ten: you shall not covet (v. 17). You have made consumerism the basis of your economy, and will not be content with what you have.”
“I long to be gracious to you and rise to show you compassion (Isaiah 30:18). My Son died for your sins. I will forgive all you confess and stand ready to send a great spiritual movement to your people. I long for you to humble yourselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from your wicked ways. If you do, I will hear from heaven, forgive your sin, and heal your land (2 Chronicles 7:14).
“It’s not too late. I am waiting for you. Will you turn to me?”