Is it too late for America? Are the nation's best days behind us? Can our sickly country be saved?
On July 1, 2016, conservative author and filmmaker Dinesh D'Souza sent out an email titled, "On The Brink Of Losing America Forever," and it certainly feels that we are that close. But have we passed the point of no return?
We could all point to a virtual mountain of sins and crimes that are rampant in our country, including the killing of more than 55 million babies in the womb. We could all indict America on many fronts. That is easy to do. But has Almighty God written us off forever?
As we celebrate the 241st anniversary of our nation this July 4th, this is the most important question we can ask. Everything is else is secondary. Can America be saved?
In my first book on revival, written in 1989, I asked, "Is God through with America? Is He ready to spew us out of His mouth? Is it too late for revival? Is our country ready to die?"
Now, almost 40 years later, these questions are much more urgent. Do we realize how much farther we have fallen?
I have asked these questions again in my newest book, Saving a Sick America: A Prescription for Moral and Cultural Reformation, due out in September. It is a book filled with great hope for our future. But it is a hope based in realism, since we will never get healthy unless we realize just how sick we are.
To use a physical analogy, America has cancer, and without radical treatment, that cancer will soon be terminal. But with major medical intervention and a total change of lifestyle, the prognosis is promising. How will we respond? Taking a pill and taking a nap will not cure our condition. Trying to eat a little better won't reverse a mortal disease.
In the same way, a nice church service won't turn the tide, a lovely sermon won't awaken us, and a casual prayer meeting won't stir us from our stupor. We need a sense of desperation and urgency. Do we have it? Are we praying and crying out and making changes in our own lives as if America hung in the balance?
We need another great awakening – a massive, spiritual revival – but a national awakening will not come up without national desperation. How hungry are we? How urgent are our prayers? How intense is our desire for God to visit our nation? Do we realize how sick we are?
In the introductory chapter to Saving a Sick America, I wanted to paint a picture of just how far we had fallen, and do so in just a few pages. How could I drive this home? While giving this prayerful consideration one day, everything became clear. I would tell the story of an all-American dad who fell asleep while watching Leave It to Beaver with his family in 1961, only to wake up in 2017. The changes are stark and shocking and disturbing. How did we get from there to here?
But my goal in that chapter (and in the book as a whole) was not to depress us or discourage us. Instead, my goal was to awaken us to the urgency of the hour so that we will turn to God with urgency and make urgent changes in our lives.
It is not too late for America unless we make it too late by our complacency and carnality and indifference. But if we will turn to God with all our heart and soul, our best days could be ahead, as preposterous as that may sound.
That's why the last chapter of the book is called, "The Church's Great Opportunity." There I tell the story of an American shoe company that decided to expand overseas, sending their best salesman to start a new branch in Africa. Before he arrived, the company spent years in strategic planning, targeting this particular region as ideal for their global expansion and shipping thousands of boxes of shoes to their huge new warehouse. But within hours of the salesman's arrival, he called the company headquarters in a panic. "Get me out of here!" he exclaimed. "No one here wears shoes!"
They flew him home immediately, temporarily halting their plans, then met as leaders to reevaluate their strategy. After lengthy discussion, they decided that their plan was sound, sending their second-best salesman.
Once again, within hours of his arrival, the salesman called headquarters with an urgent message, but this time his tone was very different. "We need thousands more boxes of shoes!" he exclaimed. "Nobody here has any shoes!" That is the mentality we must embrace here in the USA today in the midst of massive societal decline. Everyone needs what we have to offer.
As I wrote in Saving a Sick America, "Without a doubt, our nation is desperately sick, on the edge of spiraling into moral and cultural chaos. And without a doubt, much of the church is backslidden, having been seduced into apathy, lethargy, and carnality by a compromised, watered down 'gospel' and by the endless temptations of the age. In many ways, these are dark days for our country spiritually and morally, and we must not minimize the urgency of the hour. But rather than throw our hands up in despair, we should recognize that this is the perfect opportunity for the church of Jesus to rise up in the truth and power of the Spirit, bringing the message of life and transformation to our very sick country. This is the church's great opportunity. This is our time to stand."
By God's grace, I'm determined to stand strong, to speak the truth and live the truth, regardless of cost or consequence, and to turn to God will all my heart. Can we stand together? Do we really have a choice?
I truly believe that America can still be saved, but only if we do not minimize the urgency of the hour.