It seems that the entire country is focused on the fiscal cliff, a combination of mandated spending cuts and tax increases that will automatically take place if the President and Congress don’t reach an agreement on our financial problems. The prevailing opinion is that if a plan is not worked out before January 1, 2013 our economy will plunge over a fiscal cliff that will be something akin to an economic meltdown.
Contrary to popular opinion there are some who follow the economy closer than most of us who don’t see it that way. Writing in The Atlantic, Derek Thompson describes it as more of a fiscal slope than a cliff. If we go into 2013 with a deal in the works, but not yet on the president’s desk, it’s possible that no cuts will happen, no contracts will be canceled, no workers will be fired, and practically nothing will change. He points out that what’s more important for our economy than getting a deal done by January 1 is getting the right deal done, even if it negotiations go well beyond the first of the new year.
While I understand the importance of the fiscal cliff and the fear that is generated by the thought that our political leaders can’t get it together, there is another cliff that is far more important for our country. It’s the spiritual cliff that we face. The fiscal cliff is the result of wrong actions in the past combined with a lack of action in the present. So is the spiritual cliff that we face. To a large extent our country has legislated faith out of politics, education and business. What was seen in the past as a respected way of life is now confined to an hour on Sunday morning.
Perhaps the question we need to ask is not When will we plunge over the spiritual cliff? but Have we as a country already plunged over the spiritual cliff? Have we gone so far that a return to a time when the influence of godliness is not only tolerated but desired in our nation is no longer possible? Only God knows.
If it is too late to pull our country back from the cliff’s edge, it doesn’t mean that we give up. We have been called to be salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16) regardless of the spiritual condition of our nation. The early Christians lived in a time when the predominant culture (Roman) was not only unchristian but decidedly antichristian. Yet they did not let that stop them from living out their faith. I’m reminded again of the Puritan prayer that says, Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells, and the deeper the wells the brighter Thy stars shine. So the light of our faith can be seen better in the darkest night. If light can best be seen in the darkness should we not pray, God make the darkness darker yet so that the light of Your glory may be seen even brighter through the light of our lives?
Most of us can do nothing to avert the fiscal cliff that looms in the distance, however, we do have something to say about the spiritual condition of our country. I wonder just how different our nation would be if every Christian was simply illuminating the darkness around them?
Stay in the Word