The sun came up this morning, rising as always over Pilot Knob. It's benevolent rays shone down upon our hills, burning away the misty fog that blanketed the deep hollows. The songbirds began their early morning greeting to the day, and all was quiet and serene. Our world looked just the same. It will never be the same again.
Sometimes we can get a false sense of security by living here in these little pockets in the hills, isolated from crowded city life. I remember a severe storm that we had several years ago, with tornado-like winds that felled trees and downed power lines. My granddaughter Jessica was just a small girl then, and their trailer was rocked by the howling winds that threatened to topple it over.
She ran hysterically from room to room screaming, "Mommy, you said the hills would protect us!" We may get the feeling that the hills will protect us from any disaster because our way of life is seemingly unchanged. Yet danger looms nearer and nearer. Our sense of security has been badly shaken.
America is beginning to awaken and feel the need for God. For far too long, we have allowed insidious forces to undermine the very foundation that this nation was built upon. In the name of freedom, they have attacked the godly principles and moral standards that made America strong in the beginning.
It was in disbelief that I read a few days ago of an opposition made in allowing our school children a minute of silence to pray silently or merely meditate. God, and the mere mention of His name, has been barred from our public school system.
There has been a move to erase the motto "In God We Trust" from our currency. If we cannot trust in God, then where will we turn?
We have heard this scripture quoted many times, and no doubt will be hearing it a lot in the future. "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." (2 Chronicles 7:14)
There have been numerous prayer vigils and concerted prayer efforts across our land. Prayer will not be effective unless we are in a position for God to hear. There are some conditions to be met in the scripture. There must be a genuine work of salvation in our individual hearts - a repenting of sin, and forsaking of the same. The fruit (or evidence) of true repentance is change.
With clean hands and a pure heart, we are in shape to call upon God. He promised that He would hear from heaven and heal our land. Tonight we are gathered in Matthew's back yard, sitting around a huge bonfire. The little ones (grandchildren and great-grands) have pulled sleeping bags close to the comforting glow, and are roasting marshmallows over the hot coals. It is quiet and peaceful; no jet planes criss-crossing the sky, just the twinkling of the stars. Crickets and katydids make their night music, and the conversation is low and muted.
We look at the youngsters and think of the indescribable horror and carnage that has just occurred. While our little ones play at our feet, thousands more weep and wait for their parents and grandparents who will never return. It is a crime of such magnitude that our minds cannot comprehend it. Our world is no longer a safe place.
Our only real security is found in the Lord. Matthew 10:28 says, "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." God's people can boldly claim this promise: "The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me." (Hebrews 13:6)
America's hope is in turning back to God. The Bible enjoins us to "pray for kings and for all that are in authority, that we may live quiet and peaceable lives in all godliness and honesty." If there were ever a time that the leaders of our country need prayer for guidance, it is now. We need to pray for the families who have suffered this terrible disaster, and for those heroic rescuers who risked (and gave) their lives. We need to band together and pray for one another. This is our hope and our help.
Cousin Alyce Faye