For at least the past decade, and I’m sure I’m likely being conservative [no pun intended] with my estimate, the American people have had very little to feel good about. The events of September 11, 2001, and the shifting political culture in the nation has changed everything, especially how jaded we have become. Today, everywhere you look, people are killing each other, our government is oppressing its people, it is pop culture chic to lie and deceive in support of one’s ideology, children’s lives have no meaning, and the news media has forgotten what the word journalism means. I’m reminded of Don McLean’s song, “American Pie,” a song whose lyrics were about the nation going in the wrong direction. Our nation in my opinion, is adrift at sea without a motor. We have lost faith in ourselves, our nation and our God.
Last weekend, I watched most of the GOP candidates who were invited to speak at the 2015 Red State Gathering in Atlanta. To say I was inspired is an understatement, however that feeling faded quickly until I read “Can We Recalibrate?” by @EWErickson, Editor, Red State. Now, Mr. Erickson doesn’t need me to defend his actions for disinviting Mr. Donald Trump to the aforementioned 2015 event given his comments at the first GOP debate and those he made the following day directed at Megyn Kelly, Fox News Host. It is however, Mr. Erickson’s expression of faith in which we share a bond and I admire his decision to go on a journey, much like the blind beggar Bartimaeus, who according to the Gospel of Mark, discarded his cloak (leaving behind possessions) and followed Jesus. Many of you know that he is attending the Seminary for reasons only known to him, but it is a journey that will without doubt strengthen his faith.
Nine months ago, I published my first book, “Angels Watching Over Me.” For those who have read it, they know that faith and my belief in God played a huge role in my life and in that of my family. In fact, one specific chapter details how during a terrorist attack on our military annex in 1995, my wife saved my life. I titled that chapter, “Touched By The Hand Of God.” We believe that this act was of divine providence. Now I know that there will be some naysayers, who will come out of the woodwork and attack me because I have embraced my faith, just as the same naysayers attacked Mr. Erickson with horrific and disgusting vulgarities for disinviting Mr. Trump. This is simply the secular world we live in as people of faith are being persecuted worldwide for their faith beliefs.
I have an optimistic view of our nation’s future because of my faith. It is easy for all of us to simply focus on the negative things as I mentioned in my opening, put our heads down and quit. But that has never been the American way nor has it been Gods way. He challenges us every day. The question we need to ask ourselves is, will we remain blind to the power of faith, or will we take the path less travelled and embrace it regardless of the personal cost?
The book of Genesis says that “God created man in his owne Image, in the Image of God created hee him; male and female created hee them.” [King James Version (1611)] That said, when we look in the mirror, are we not seeing an image of God? And, when we see others, are they not images of God as well? After all, if we believe that all things are possible under God and that seeing is believing, shouldn’t the idea of equality be a foregone conclusion and not be something politicized by politicians as a dividing line?
The United States of America is an exceptional country whose foundation as a nation is grounded in its belief that God has given us certain unalienable rights, such as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. However today, there are internal and external movements afoot by Secular’s to transform America away from its greatness and strong diversity in faith, into a secular individual based society centered on seeding control and power to the rich political class.
I believe solutions to many of our nations woes can be found by reembracing faith and family values. I digress into a personal story to make my point.
On July 7, 2015, I donated one of my kidney’s to another veteran who had run out of medical options. My friend and I had known each other’s families for many years. My decision to donate one of my organs to another veteran was a no brainer and those who have served understand the reason to sacrifice. Like many veterans, he was abandoned and we needed to act. Medically, I was the perfect match. For me, this was an act to further embrace both my faith and my family values as I was able to give another human being life. The thought that by the grace of God, my friend will be able to grow old with his wife, walk his daughter down the aisle, and stand proudly with his son at his college graduation, is most fulfilling.
I live my life as many people of faith do by embracing the true grace of God. Big government and political hacks cannot and will not make the personal sacrifices like I described above.
Further, I believe that the cage of circumstance does not encircle us with iron bars of denial and despair.
Each day is a new creation and when others think the task is impossible, there are people in our lives who can give us the strength to turn dreams into reality. Every choice we make creates our destiny and when we walk together, our feet will not fail no matter how difficult the path before us may seem.
In this upcoming political cycle we have choices to make that will define us as a people and nation. I believe that we can either choose to be a blind beggar reliant on the political machine for our meager existence or we can choose the path less travelled by throwing off our cloaks, embrace the miracle of sight and make a difference in people’s lives.
I pray that by the grace of God that America will return to the values of faith and family. I pray by the grace of God that we will make a difference together.
Colonel (Ret) John D. Vernon, USA, is the author of “Angels Watching Over Me” and is the CEO, American Warrior Press. Learn more at http://americanwarriorpress.com and follow him on twitter @JOHNDVERNON1.