This week our nation celebrates its 238th birthday. Quite a milestone! Happy birthday, America! Long may you live.
I love our nation. There is wealth, economic stability (for the most part) and a plethora of opportunities for pursuing happiness.
However, I fear for its future. When one looks at the great nations of this world throughout the course of history, what happened to them? Eventually, they all crumbled.
Thousands of years ago, the Mesopotamians were a considerable force, but they succumbed to other nations.
The Hebrew people were strong at one point, but fell victim to other national powers; one of them being the Roman Empire.
The Roman empire was a great force with which to be reckoned. But in time, that empire fell.
The Mesopotamian leadership became drunk with power, affluence, wealth and privilege. This mindset trickled down to the average citizen. With that sense of privilege came arrogance. With arrogance came laziness. And with laziness came defeat.
The same thing happened with Rome.
With the Hebrew people it was slightly different. When they turned their backs on God, they became vulnerable to the powers of this world.
Two hundred thirty-eight years ago, men and women of what is now the United States of America fought with their lives to gain freedom from an oppressive government. That independence was won after much bloodshed.
I fear our nation will one day go the way of other great world powers such as ancient Rome.
I fear we are becoming a nation that feels it is privileged.
I fear the sense of arrogance among an increasing number of leaders and persons will continue to trickle down to the average citizen.
I fear that arrogance will change to laziness.
I fear laziness will completely take over.
I fear haughtiness will creep in and our nation will say, “Nothing bad will ever happen to us!”
And I fear that will be the end of this great nation of ours.
Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
The Bible says, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” When our nation returns to God and seeks forgiveness for its arrogance, selfishness, pettiness, pride, greed, gluttony and immorality, I believe God’s blessing will pour forth in new, exciting ways that have not yet been enjoyed.
When the Hebrew people realized their error of turning their backs on God then returned to him, his blessings flowed to them once again. History points this out.
History does repeat itself — whether for good or for ill.
Let us pray that our nation's people will return to God, so his blessings will flow to us, and we will have countless birthday celebrations for the United States of America!
The Rev. Mark Broadhead is Laurel Hill Presbyterian Church and First Presbyterian Church of Crestview’s pastor.