By Minister Patricia Johnson Pratt
As a child growing up I would always hear the older folks say that the Bahamas was a nation under God. As I got older and eventually became a believer I began to understand what that phrase meant. Well, at least what it meant to me, and to me this meant that we were a nation of people who love God, who follow His word and teachings, and who pray to Him consistently. He is our source for everything and so we look to Him for guidance, direction, protection and so on.
But as time passed and events unfolded - nation-changing events - I witnessed a people who became cold and callous, and self-obsessed, a people who began to deny God, a people who now overlooked the God of all creation, the giver of all things - a nation who had forgotten the sovereignty of the most Holy God.
We became tradition keepers, and perfected religious practices; we became dramatic, theatrical, controlling and of corrupt hearts and minds, forgetting that we are a nation under God, the same God who looks down on the face of evil, the same God who has called us to be children of light, yet daily our light became dimmer and we began to blend in more and more with the darkness that exists amongst us. There was no way for others to tell the difference anymore because we were chameleons and our proclamations did not line up with our demonstration of godly living.
We sinned as a nation and found Bible verses to somewhat justify our sins, all in an effort to make ourselves feel safe while God looked down upon our unrighteousness with a heavy heart, heavy because He has so much in store for us according to Jeremiah 29:11, which tells us that "the thoughts that He has toward us are thoughts of peace and not of evil, they are to give us a future and a hope with an expected end."
According to Proverbs 6:16-19, the sins that God hates have been the order of the day for many of us: our eyes are haughty, we tell lies, our hands shed innocent blood, and our hearts devise wicked schemes. Our feet are quick to rush into evil, we are false witnesses that pour out lies and we are people who stir up conflict in our homes, in the meeting places for worship and fellowship, in the work place, and in our communities. These sins have become the norm. We are a bitter, relentless, unapologetic and unforgiving people - a title-seeking, power-crazed people who will go to any measure to destroy one another, overlooking the word according to Matthew 6:33 that reminds us that if we "seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness all of these things will be added."
Through it all though, I remember 2 Chronicles 7:14, that singing loud in my spirit, that call to order, that call to alignment, that call to repentance the call to be naked and broken. 2 Chronicles puts it this way: If my people, God's people, who are called by His name, will humble themselves and pray and seek His face and turn from their wicked ways, then He will hear from heaven, and will forgive our sin and will heal our land.
Our nation has recently experienced utter destruction. To some it's an act of nature; just another hurricane. To others it's as if this was a storm engineered by man, while to another group it is the judgement of God on a people who have rebelled against Him, who have turned their backs on Him.
God had the perfect plan and foundation set in place for us to live by and build upon. The Father knows why we are here, and we pray that His purpose will soon be revealed. In the meantime, I consider this the perfect time for a nation to come together in true repentance.
During the years we have received signs, we've had warnings from the prophetic voices in our nation, many have had dreams and visions, but like the children who laughed at Noah for building the Ark, we did not take heed. We went on whoring after money and positions, and we denied the true power of God and replaced it with our form of godliness, and we were even fooled into believing that we had the monopoly on God. But here we are today, smack dab in the midst of a national crisis, and I do consider this is an opportune time for us to now live out 2 Chronicles 7:14 instead of just reciting it in our prayers with no actions to follow.
Acts 3:19 says to repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, so that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and so as we do so we pray in the name of Jesus Christ that we will produce fruits in keeping with our repentance, then we can truly say that we are a nation under God. We pray that the God of mercy and grace will forgive us and cleanse us from all our unrighteousness. In Jesus' name, Amen!