"And he said, Take the arrows. And he took them. And he said unto the king of Israel, Smite upon the ground. And he smote thrice, and stayed. And the man of God was wroth with him and said, Thou shouldest have smitten five or six times; then hadst thou smitten Syria till thou hadst consumed it: whereas now thou shalt smite Syria but thrice." — 2 Kings 13:18-19
Elisha the prophet was dying. Joash, the young king of Israel, came to see him. Elisha had Joash shoot an arrow out of the window and explained that the symbolism represented Israel defeating their enemy, Syria. With that symbolism established, Elisha told him to take the arrows in his hand and strike the ground with them. When Joash stopped after three strikes on the ground, Elisha was livid. What Joash did with those arrows was going to determine what God did in the conflict; God placed the arrows of victory in Joash's hands, and he did not use them as he should.
We here in America have been blessed by God, but we also have been given a great responsibility. In a very important way, God has placed the arrows in our hands. Yet many Christians are far more negligent than Joash was with those arrows.
In some ways things are going well in America. The stock market is at all-time highs, unemployment is at record lows, important ties with our allies that had been ruined over the last decade have been firmly re-established, our embassy is now in Jerusalem, some very good judges have been put on the bench at all levels — all of these are excellent.
But there are also some things happening now that previous generations would have regarded as unthinkable.
Socialism is now on the ballot in "the land of the free," when freedom and socialism are polar opposites. There are multiple candidates running for office across our land that are avowed socialists. Many of them try to dress it up by calling it "democratic socialism," but that makes as much sense as the term "fragrant skunk." Government ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods robs a nation and its individuals of their freedom and liberty and eventually destroys that nation.
Abortion is sacrosanct in America by somewhere around half of the population, though every abortion ends the life of a child and minorities are disproportionately affected. African-Americans have 27.1 abortions per thousand of women ages 15-44 to whites having only 10 per thousand (www.guttmacher.org/info graphic/2017/abortion-rates-race-and-ethnicity), while whites make up 76.6 percent of the population compared to African-Americans making up just 13.5 percent (www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/ US/PST045217).
Religious liberty is under assault in a great many state houses and courthouses. The great "cake wars" and "flower wars" show this clearly. Progressives gasp at the notion of the "slippery slope" of allowing people the freedom of conscience to refuse to do things that violate their religious sensibilities. But they never seem to ask about the other side of the slippery slope, as in "Well, if we allow people to force other people to make the cake or the flowers, we are going out on a slippery slope, and where does it stop? Can we also force the African-American baker to make a rebel flag cake? Can we force the Muslim deli to provide ham sandwiches and bacon for a church gathering? Can we force the Jewish florist to make a lovely arrangement for a Neo Nazi group to use at an anti-Jewish meeting?
On Aug. 12, 2018, Antifa and open-borders activists marched through Washington, D.C., chanting, "No border, no wall, no USA at all!"
No USA at all. Do away with it. Yes, I would say America is facing some problems. The good news is, not only can we pray, we can also put feet to our prayers. In America, 64 percent of people describe themselves as Christians, and I have seen estimates as high as 75 percent. But as a conservative estimate, 64 percent of 330 million people, the approximate population of America, is 213,120,000 people.
During the presidential election of 2016, America set a record: 139,000,000 voted. But do you see the problem? Between Christians and non-Christians together, 139,000,000 voted, the best turnout we have ever had, and yet there are 213,120,000 people who describe themselves as Christians.
In other words, God has placed in our hands the ability to decide any election ever in most any place and at most every level. If every voting-age Christian went to the polls in every primary election, every general election and every special election, evil would still exist, but it would have much less power.
"But Preacher," says the political pacifist, "we need to be focused on the spiritual, and let God handle everything else!"
Tell that to Elijah. Tell that to Elisha. Tell that to Jesus who said, "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's." That was his reminder to us that we are citizens not just of heaven but of Earth as well and that we have a responsibility to both.
Identify good candidates who are pro-life, pro-freedom, pro-America and pro-religious liberty.
Register. Vote. In America, God has placed the arrows in our hands.
Bo Wagner is pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, North Carolina, a widely traveled evangelist and the author of several books. His books are available on Amazon and at www.wordofhismouth.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.