Fox News ran this headline on May 24th: “Runaway barges hit eastern Oklahoma dam amid chaotic Midwest storms.” The video is breathtaking. If you can get to a computer, you’ll find the video at https://fxn.ws/2HLfgg8, or just Google “runaway barges.” If you haven’t seen it, I would suggest putting this article aside for now and watching it. That way we will both have the same picture in our heads. Do come back and finish this article, though!
I think those runaway barges picture what is happening to America. As the barges were filled to capacity, so we are bursting with material blessings. Think about it. The average American enjoys way more conveniences today than even the very wealthy had just 50 years ago. We have considerable wealth, but we are also drifting into chaos. Violence is becoming commonplace; corrupt politicians are everywhere, and we are learning that many powerful men have used their authority to sexually abuse women.
Where did we go wrong? Why have we been experiencing so many violent tragedies lately? It is popular to blame guns. That doesn’t make sense, though, because civilians in our country have always had guns. Something has changed. I think it’s because we have turned away from what made America a great nation.
We have rejected what our Founding Fathers taught us in our country’s Declaration of Independence.
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. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…
The American government is the first one in the history of the world to declare that personal rights are granted by the Creator. It just makes sense that if God created us, then we are ultimately accountable to Him. There can only be ONE final authority. “… know that the Lord, He is God; there is no other besides Him” (Deuteronomy 4:35).
What happens when we deny that God has the right to tells us what is right and wrong? It clears the way for each of us to step in decide for ourselves what WE think is right and wrong. Believing that lie is what started this whole mess. Satan told Adam and Eve that by disobeying their Creator, “… your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5).
When we don’t acknowledge that God is supreme, then we feel free to do God’s job. That is a recipe for anarchy. That is the result when: “… every man [does] what [is] right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6).
In one passage, the Bible not only tells us what social chaos looks like, but it also explains what causes it: “Their feet are swift to shed blood; destruction and misery are in their paths, and the path of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:15–18).
America is drifting aimlessly, and perhaps you feel like you are too. Maybe your life seems adrift with no real meaningful purpose. You’ve tried different relationships, different jobs, different pleasures, and nothing brings any lasting satisfaction. We are born, we live a short time, and then it’s all over. Augustine, an early Christian church leader hit on the solution: “You have made us for Yourself, O God, and our hearts are restless until they find rest in Thee.”
With open arms, Jesus gives us this invitation: “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28–30).
The deep-down rest that is truly satisfying comes as we learn about Jesus and follow Him. Even when the currents of life are against us, we can actually have a joy that is even greater. I have experienced it, and if you turn to Christ you can, too. “Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near” (Philippians 4:4–5).