April 21, 1999

 -Or is our apathy terminal?
Will anything awaken us?

By JOHN ANDERSON   www.cryministry.com

"There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death!"(Proverbs 14:12)

Apathy is tough to crack, and ours, buoyed by our good times, with the Dow topping 10,000 and wealth being spread around and all, has been especially tough.

Certainly we've resisted anything penetrating our willful nonchalance. Consider: Most of us Americans believed Juanita Broaddrick when she stated in a TV interview that she had been raped by the man who is now the president. Yet, despite the very plausible case that a rapist is in the White House, there has been no general outrage.

And so far there has been no widespread alarm about breaches in our national security despite news that China has stolen nuclear secrets.

And, of course, throughout the recent presidential scandal and impeachment saga, we Americans gave high job approval numbers to the president while believing that he lied to us and obstructed justice. Since then Judge Susan Webber Wright has cited Mr. Clinton for contempt of court for lying, with little shock in the country.

Then there is our long indifference to killing our unborn.

We've shrugged at all of these. Things have seemed okay.

Recently however our complacency has been rocked, even ever so slightly, as we have grappled, reluctantly, with the bombings of Kosovo. There is apprehension as we watch Congress vote on the several billions of dollars to sustain the war, possibly through the end of this year; and as we ponder the possibility of ground troops being introduced. If there is a ground war, what will the sight of scores of body bags arriving back in the country do to us?

Will it shake us?

The character issue adds to our anxiety over Kosovo. During the Lewinsky scandal we were told there is personal character and there is public character, and public character is what mattersñespecially if it puts money in our pockets. Well now we are in a war, deadly business; and since a president makes decisions which can send men to their death, personal character just might matter. In a crisis like war, moral authority to lead is paramount, something this president does not possess to any degree anymore. It is now giving pause to many citizens that a draft-dodging, court-certified liar is running the war.

What will it take to shake us? Kosovo? Body bags? Stock Market fall? Y2K? Something else? Or is our apathy terminal?

Many Christians involved in intercessory prayer, alarmed at the false sense of security in our culture, have been lovingly praying for something to shake us from our malignant apathy, understanding that only if we are jolted out of our indifference and face our sin and repent is there true hope for our nation.

There is Scriptural precedent for such merciful shaking. For instance in Amos 4:6-12 God said to Israel He had sent them lack of food, drought, blight, mildew, locusts, plagues, the sword. Why? He wanted them to come back to Him. Five times He punctuates His message with, "Yet you have not returned to me."

Because Israel didn't return to the Lord, they were sharply told "prepare to meet your God." (v12) The word "meet" can either refer to the happy encounter with a friend or to the grim confrontation with an enemy. Israel had spurned many invitations to meet God as a gracious friend; now they will meet Him as a judging foe. Other nations have also so met the God of judgment.

So us. The time of our retribution is upon us. If we continue to treat with contempt the rich mercies that God has bestowed on us and scorn repentance, then the curtain will fall on our nation.

Our lack of concern should be our deep concern. Certainly a common mark of a society nearing judgment is indifferenceñits response to its sinning condition and looming judgment being a massive yawn.

It doesn't care that God is against them.

It just doesn't want to rouse itself. Like Rome, bread and circuses satisfy it.

However nations, like individuals, have discovered that everything can seem right, but in the end lead to death.

Ultimately, our calloused national conscience is enormously more perilous to us than Kosovo, China, or Y2K.

To awaken our national conscience must be an urgent priority for every preacher.

Or we will watch our nation sleep its way to hell.

Let us pray together: Our beautiful and loving heavenly Father, we thank you for the gracious and abundant blessings you have given us as a nation. We earnestly pray that you will do whatever necessary to shake us as a nation from our apathy and indifference to our sin and impending judgment, so that there will be a cry to you in repentance. May the preachers of our nation clearly speak your Word, confront us in our sin and press us to return to you!

John Anderson has been in ministry over 34 years, including 24 years serving three churches. Since 1988 he and his wife, Esther, have been in traveling ministry across the world. Recently they have based their CRY OF THE INNOCENTS MINISTRY near Washington, D.C. John is editor of Pastor's Alert, a publication of The Alliance for Revival and Reformation. He is author of two books, CRY OF THE INNOCENTS and THE CRY OF COMPASSION. He is available for ministry and may be contacted at:
PO Box 759, Waldorf, MD 20604 - (301) 645-0280
Email: CryMinJohn@aol.com.