Unfortunately, we are used to hearing a lot of bad news nowadays. Whether you watch television, listen to radio, browse the internet, or just talk with friends, you will hear—sooner or later—news about the direction our country is going that causes a deep pain within. However, if we only think in political terms, we will not have evaluated society’s problem properly. We live in a time when a people who once valued the Bible have turned all their hatred and vitriol against the Bible and those who cling to its saving message. I can but imagine, then, what Nehemiah must have felt when he heard the report from Hanani that his homeland lay in shambles (Neh. 1:1-3). In his case, Jerusalem had been devastated physically. In ours, the country has deteriorated morally. But if you care about your homeland, the emotions surely are similar. But if this is so, it causes me to wonder why our reaction is not similar to Nehemiah’s as well.
Nehemiah did not complain loudly. He did not organize a protest. He did not vent his frustrations at the messenger who brought the news. To the contrary, he wept (Neh. 1:4), he prayed (Neh. 1:5-11a), and he considered what he could do to make a practical difference (Neh. 1:11b). Jerusalem had been destroyed years before, but a small remnant led by Zerubbabel and Ezra had rebuilt the temple. Therefore, Nehemiah’s tears flowed due to the lack of attention, care, and effort God’s people had given to their own city to make it more than just a symbol. In his prayer he identified their lack of progress with the sin that originally had left Jerusalem in rubble. He knew this great city deserved better and could be better, and he was determined to make it so.
Christians have mourned over the decay of morality in America for years. They have watched in dismay as Satan and his minions established foothold after foothold in every institution in the country. We have mourned, we have prayed, we have voted. But might part of our problem be that we have given so much of our care and our heart to mourning for and praying for our country that we have failed to mourn over and pray for the church? Have we voted for morality in our country while allowing immorality to infiltrate the very lives of God’s people? If you will reflect and be honest, you know this to be the case. Therefore, while we may indeed watch in sadness and even disgust as the world marches steadily into greater and greater darkness, may we mourn for sin—not only for others’ but also for our own in failing to stay focused on saving souls, living for Jesus, and being true to His Word. Though the mountains of freedom and democracy may evaporate, let us pray for strength, forgiveness, and wisdom in meeting the challenge. While society crumbles and people’s hopes fade, let us build. Let us build lives filled with hope and joy (1 Cor. 15:19-20; Phil. 4:4). Let us build congregations where Christians support one another and care for one another richly and deeply (Jn. 13:34-35; Heb. 10:24). Let us build confidence that no human law can ever destroy (Heb. 6:18-20). Let the politicians build a coalition around man’s ideas, but let every Christian move forward with faith knowing Christ has built His church “and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Mt. 16:18).