What is the future of the United States of America? Are we doomed to go in the way of so many other nations throughout history? Will America end up in the ash heap of history? Or are our greatest days still ahead?
No one can say with any certainty what the future of America is. But I will say this: It is worth noting that in Scripture, the United States is not to be found in the last-days scenario. I am not saying she won’t be there in some way, shape, or form. But there is no clear passage of Scripture that identifies the superpower known today as the United States of America. So it makes me wonder where we are. In Scripture, the greatest nation on earth is conspicuously absent from the world stage during the end times.
We do know this much. Rome was once the reigning superpower on the face of the earth. It had the most powerful military anywhere. But before Rome collapsed externally, she collapsed internally. And I think we would do well to look at the soul of our country right now. I am for a strong military and for taking seriously any foreign threats. But having said that, what about an internal collapse?
Will Durant, who wrote an excellent book on the history of Rome, had this observation about its fall: “A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has first destroyed itself from within.”
The difference between Rome and the United States is that this country was initially built on a Judeo-Christian foundation. But we have strayed dramatically from the original vision of our Founding Fathers that produced this wonderful thing we call America. What once was freedom of religion seems to have now become freedom from religion. We have succeeded in getting God out of our schools, out of our sporting events, out of our public places and out of our workplaces.
Christmas was once, at least to some degree, a celebration of the birth of Jesus. Now, “Merry Christmas” has turned into “Happy Holidays” and “Seasons Greetings.” And some have replaced the word “Christmas” entirely with terms like “Winter Solstice.”
Then there is Good Friday and Easter, which are days to remember the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. These have been turned into Spring Break. It seems we are pushing against those values.
But here is the thing we need to remember: The freedom we now enjoy was built on the foundation of absolute truth. And when you remove that foundation, this freedom actually can turn into anarchy. We see our country today saying, “Well, we don’t want to live by those standards anymore. We don’t like the idea of a family consisting of a man and a woman who are married for life. We don’t like the idea of things being right and things being wrong. We want to live according to moral relativism, where we can all choose our own truths.”
It reminds me of a fish named Oscar that I once had. He literally was an Oscar – the Oscar fish. When I was a kid, I collected tropical fish. While other kids were out playing baseball, I was adding to my fish collection. I loved fish. And so I had one of these Oscars, which are very aggressive. Even when it is little, if you introduce an Oscar into an aquarium of larger fish, it won’t be long until it is running the whole place. The Oscar fish will be chasing the other fish around.
Well, my Oscar got bigger and bigger. And one day when I came home from school, he was not in the tank. I thought, Where did he go? Where does a fish go? And then I saw Oscar. He was lying in an open drawer right beneath the tank, covered in birdseed. (I also had a parakeet.) Oscar’s gills were still moving, so I grabbed him, rushed him over to the bathtub, turned the water on, and threw him in. He came around, and I returned him to the aquarium. And as I recall, he jumped out a few more times.
Oscar wanted out of that place. He wanted to get to the outside world. But it wasn’t working for him there in the birdseed. He needed intervention from his owner, who knew what was best for him.
In the same way, America needs Divine intervention. We need God’s help. After the horrific tragedy of 9/11, I remember how so many Americans turned back to God. I remember the prayer vigils on street corners and members of Congress spontaneously breaking into “God Bless America” on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. I remember how churches, including the one where I pastor, were filled to capacity in the aftermath of 9/11. People were saying, “What do we do? We need God’s help. We don’t know what is happening.” So we have seen people in our country turn to God in the past.
But here is my belief about the future of the United States. I think we have two choices before us: one is judgment and the other is revival – a spiritual awakening. If we do not have revival, then I think judgment is inevitable.
As Peter Marshall, chaplain of the U.S. Senate from 1947 to 1949, once said, “The choice before us is plain, Christ or chaos, conviction or compromise, discipline or disintegration.”