I just returned home again from Saudi Arabia . Whenever I come home from abroad, as those of you who have worked overseas or been in the military and forced to endure separations from your loved ones knows, there’s the feeling of tremendous emotion—the joy of being with family and friends again, and being in fond familiar places. But I want to suggest there is also something of a spiritual nature involved which takes place, particularly when coming back from long stays in lands that are, in many respects benighted. In the Gulf Region and especially in Saudi Arabia there is much less freedom than in Temple , Texas , and Christians are not allowed to worship publicly. The first time I experienced the fullness of what I’m describing was after returning from two years in Kuwait when I was stationed there in the Army on unaccompanied assignment. My wife Aida and I experienced a joyous reunion and decided to go to First Baptist Church not far down the sidewalk from where we live in Belton. It was 2002 and our first visit there.
Not only was I happy to be home and with my wife, but I was overwhelmed by the choir and music and the genuine movement of the Spirit I felt there. Oftentimes I get a little weepy eyed in church, but on this occasion tears really came out. I think they probably gushed in the middle of one of my favorite praise songs—the one with the chorus that goes: “Crucified [pause] laid behind a stone/You lived to die [pause] rejected and alone/Like a rose [pause] trampled on the ground” (and that’s when I felt a sharp pinch on my hand. It was Aida [and I’ll never forget this], she leaned over said: “Now you stop it! These folks might think you did something.”
I wish everyone would go to church even at the risk of people wondering if they did something; more so at the risk of what atheists and agnostics might think about one’s efficient use of time. I’ve found personally if you get filled up with the Spirit, it can last all week long. I wish everyone would teach their children too all the wonderful stories there are in the Bible, and give to them the most precious gift one generation can give to another—and that is the love and hope and daily help, which come from knowing and welcoming Jesus into their hearts. As I think back on my own family and raising there’s a lot I might criticize, but my parents and grandparents did emphasize God, His Son and the power of prayer, and that has made all the difference. Family has a profound impact in this regard, and in many others.
Now it is also the case that society could help more than it does, to reinforce the good and to mitigate evil influence and ugliness. It is unfortunately true that we are accosted daily by images that are disturbing and unhealthy, whether we choose to watch or simply pick up the remote and land on something terrible while flipping channels. I’m not suggesting that media should be regulated more; I am suggesting that every child (and every adult) needs to build a bulwark of spiritual strength to handle these things, to process negative imagery and counter it with positive pronouncements upon this gift of life and the limitless possibilities of human nature in Liberty when people strive to pattern the divine.
You see faith and freedom are linked, such that, faith orders liberty towards the good; whereas, freedom shorn of the divine devolves into the awful scenes we are subjected to, and into desperation and dust. Our Founders knew this and were profoundly thoughtful when it came to the Constitution, the government, and their hope for Posterity. The Founding Fathers and the women behind them, with them, caring for them and making homes—that generation gave us a Republic and challenged us to keep it. They also told us to trust in God, to learn His Word, to act as men and women of integrity by applying the Word to daily life through life’s travail. They told us to be vigilant, to watch always and pray. Yes to pray for the Nation.
Let me tease a further observation of that Founding generation, and that is this: the God they prayed to and recommended, is that same God of the Old and New Testaments of the Holy Bible. On that basis Liberty they believed would be secured, for if it is so as it says in Scripture, that in Him we live and move and have our being, it is certain the relation we keep with Him has an inordinate bearing and impact on life, liberty and pursuit of Happiness—on the seeds we sow and the fruits we harvest. It stands to reason. It is only logical. God can and may indeed sanctify our Freedom and bless this Nation, but we really need to ask Him to.
Wesley Allen Riddle is a retired military officer with degrees and honors from West Point and Oxford . Widely published in the academic and opinion press, he ran for U.S. Congress (TX-District 31) in the 2004 Republican Primary. Article based on remarks to Central Texas Republican Women at their annual prayer breakfast in observance of the National Day of Prayer (6 May 2010), Temple , Texas . Email: .
... written by Ken Dickson , June 03, 2010
Thank God there are a few people are around who understands Faith & Politics!
We all know what America would be like if we actually was under control of the likes of the rulers of Saudi Arabia!
... written by Austin , June 05, 2010
The Founding Fathers "told us to trust in God, to learn His Word, to act as men and women of integrity by applying the Word to daily life through life’s travail."
These are the same founding fathers who set up the only secular government of their time, the ones who went to great lengths to keep religion OUT of government. If they wanted a "National day of prayer" they would have created one. Clearly they saw the DANGER of mixing religion and government. Perhaps we should too.