Especially since the “Enlightenment,” people have had a tendency to think of their generation as superior to or more progressive than all previous eras. When human achievements are on the increase, we think no generation has ever risen so high . . . . And when adversity and calamity turn up, we believe no generation has ever had it so tough. This is why we must become better students of history.
In 1863, our nation experienced unbearably painful times. Bitter opposition and sharp division characterized the culture. People were filled with fear and disheartened by loss. In that season of adversity, Abraham Lincoln penned these commanding words:
“We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven . . . We have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.”
What timely words, as applicable for our times as theirs—and for the marketplace where we pride ourselves on personal ingenuity, competence and the ability to produce our industry’s service or product with unparalleled efficiency and success. Only months ago, the majority of us were intoxicated with a seemingly endless supply of prosperity. Today we need to sober up and look beyond the red ink and bankruptcy applications piling up at the intersection of Main and Wall Streets.
Like me, you may have heard many recent confessions from those of us who are waking up to a deeper need for God’s presence and direction—those who thought they were depending on Him, said they were trusting Him, but not really doing the one thing that demonstrates that desire. Listen to some invitations from God to sit down for a good long conversation, then reflect on the last time you actually took Him up on it:
[God said,]“Call to Me, and I will answer you; I will tell you wonderful and marvelous things that you know nothing about.” (Jeremiah 33:3) “Then Jesus said, ‘Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) “Jesus told them a story showing that it was necessary for them to pray consistently and never quit.” (Luke 18:1ff.) [And Paul said,]“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than what the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and your minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6)
There is a spirit of pride that runs deep throughout the marketplace—no, it infects all of us. When we come to the place where we recognize it, and are willing to turn away from it, we are ready to enter the open door and the refuge of our Wise, Trustworthy, Sheltering, Guiding and Welcoming Father. Will you spend some moments talking with Him right now?