"Give Us America, or We Die"

“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord” (Isaiah 6:1). The young prophet Isaiah, wrapped in the fog of political uncertainty—his nation threatened from crises without and fears within, his own soul afraid of what might yet come upon his people—turns his despondency toward the temple in Jerusalem. And as he steps into sacred space to pray, to ponder, the towering temple walls collapse into this stunning vision: “I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple.” Breathless he gazes at this theophany: “Above him were seraphim, each with six wings . . . and they were calling to one another: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.’”

The whole earth “full of His glory”? But how could that possibly be when the nation the young prophet loves and serves is at a critical crisis point?

Or could it be that political crises are the grist of divine paradigm shifts, that leadership upheaval and change is the catalyst for new revelation, for understanding?

A quick scan of Twitter hashtags on the morning after Tuesday’s presidential election reveals a community of young and not so young Americans exuding strong and conflicting emotions—triumph and joy, broken and bitter, get-over-it nonchalance, and angry, just plain angry. The election has been labeled the most bitter presidential election in the history of this nation. And America the morning after is as fractured and divided as we were before we cast our votes—perhaps divided even more deeply now.

But in the narrative of the young Isaiah the veil between human politics and divine sovereignty is drawn aside—and in his vision of the “high and exalted Lord” whose glory fills the earth “as waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14) we stand before the stark but abiding truth that there is only one Sovereign, one Supreme Leader—“the only God our Savior [to whom] be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen” (Jude 25).

And it is that “Amen” that promises hope for all Americans, for all earth inhabitants on the morning after. The hope of healing for this fractured nation, the hope of strong and abiding love for all those alienated and rejected by political ideologies or campaign demagoguery, the hope that somewhere there is a deep and abiding compassion that can yet restore this land to its original promise and historic destiny.

So it is we pray on. With this prayer—a prayer I hope you will pray with me—the prayer of the intrepid Protestant Reformer John Knox, who in a land torn by religion and politics, pleaded with God, “Give me Scotland or I die.” On this day after, Iet us cry out to the same God, “Give us America or we die.” Give us, O God, this land of destiny for which the door of spiritual opportunity is yet open a little longer.

Ours is not a political cause to champion. To us has been entrusted the apocalyptic mission to point this civilization to the soon-coming King, whose healing love is the greatest freedom any human can seek. Now more than ever carpe diem—we must seize the day! “Give us America or we die.”