Why Should God Heal Our Land?
Written by: Rev. Joyson. K. C
Published in AIM Magazine, May 2020
We love to sing our national anthem and we take pride in it. Whenever I hear it, my heart leaps with great joy. It is written by Shri Rabindranath Tagore one of India’s foremost literary giants. Let me present few words of our anthem and remind its meaning:
You are the ruler of minds of people, let the victory be with you, The dispenser of the destiny of India
TavaSubha name jage,
tavasubha asisa mage,
Wake up listening to the auspicious name of yours and pray for your blessings, The saving of all the people is lying in your hands.
You are the one to impart wellbeing to the people
the dispenser of the destiny of India
This is exactly what we Christians pray for India. We pray to the Ruler of the universe who is the dispenser of the destiny of India. We pray for God’s blessing on India. We pray Christ would save the people. We pray that God would keep our nation safe for He is the dispenser of the destiny of our beloved nation.
But should God hear our prayer?
Is our race superior to others?
Do we have higher intelligence than others?
Are we morally better than others? During World War II, these are the questions Dr Peter Marshall asked the Americans in his sermon, “Why Should God Bless America?”
We are not facing a war but we are facing a worldwide sickness which is affecting more nations and more people than even World War II did. And those questions are pertinent today to the Church in India. In fact they are pertinent to the Church in any nation today. I’m indebted to Dr Peter Marshall for the following thoughts.
Why should God hear our prayer? Why should God answer our cries? Why should God look with compassion on India? Why should God heal our land? OR Has our pride begun to make us think that we deserve God’s healing on our nation.
Let us turn our attention to 2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways: then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin, and heal their land.
This scripture today is perhaps one of the most important scriptures to be brought before the people of our nation. Make no mistake – this is a call for all Indians – irrespective of their regional allegiances. For we sing:
Punjab, Sindh, Gujarat, Maratha, Dravid, Orissa, Bengal.There are echoes in the hills of the Vindhyas, and the Himalayas and music is mingled in Yamuna, and Ganga
This is a call for all Indians irrespective of their religious faith because all are created by God- Hindus & Muslims, Buddhists & Jains, Sikhs & Zoroastrians and even atheists- all are created by God and therefore belong to God. And this call is all the more applicable to Indian Christians who are called by the name of Christ.
But before we look at the four conditions of healing for our nation let us not be quick to term the present crisis as God’s judgment. Such thoughts are not only premature but also prejudicial. The reason we seek God’s healing is because we know that while we are weak and limited, God is almighty and can bring healing which we cannot.
Let us now look at the four conditions:
The First condition is to humble ourselves. Humanity today lives in an era of unparalleled success. These are the days of “self-made men (and women).” We have become intoxicated by our achievements and successes. Humility and gratitude does not come to us anymore. But if we want God to heal our land, the first condition is to humble ourselves. Pride hides our faults, therefore it is the sure path to fall. Humility reveals the truth about us, therefore it is the sure path to growth.
F. B. Meyer once said: “I used to think that God’s gifts were on shelves one above the other; and that the taller we grew in Christian character the easier we could reach them. I now find that God’s gifts are on shelves one beneath the other. It is not a question of growing taller but of stooping lower; that we have to go down, always down, to get His best gifts.”1 Humility is not humiliation of oneself but it is glad submission to God – as the Lord of our life. When we humble ourselves we are admitting faith in God’s ability to deal with our circumstance. For the Scripture promises, “Humble yourself in the sight of God and He will lift you up.” (James 4:10)
The Second condition is that God’s people must pray. God is never more than a prayer away. But the tragedy of our day is not unanswered prayer but unoffered prayer. We are able to do a lot of things other than prayer. Many of us have lost the desire to pray. If we feel the Church is not as influential on the society as before it is because the Church has ceased to pray.
However, if today we are knocked to our knees, we are in the right position to pray. Bending our knees keeps us from breaking under the load of cares. Prayer gives strength to the weak and courage to the fearful. For fretting enlarges the problem but prayer magnifies God. These days we are more qualified to pray than other times for we are in a state of helplessness. Prayer is recognition of God as the source of all blessings. It is declaration of our dependence on Him. Someone has said – when we work, we work; but when we pray God works. We will get on our feet, if we get on our knees.
The Third Condition is to seek God’s face. This means a return to God, to turn toward His direction. Our Nation is in lockdown mode and we follow ‘social distancing.’ But to seek God we need not go anywhere or to anyone. God is close to us and yet we are oblivious of Him because of our distraction with other things. Times like these indicate a call for God’s people to stop looking for help and purpose in every other thing in life.
The Bible declares God is our Great Physician (Exodus 15:26). Healing does not come by standing in the waiting room, one needs to go in and see the Doctor. Seeking is more than knowing about God, seeking is the desire to know God. It is an effort to find God’s will for our lives, His guidance for our behaviour. It is an effort to find God’s standards for our ethics. In some way it is true that we know it- then we must seek the strength of the Holy Spirit to practice it. As we seek the face of God we will shine His light just as the moon reflects the light of the sun in the dark sky. Then indeed we will be a blessing to the nation and our nation will be a blessing to the people of the world.
The Fourth condition is to turn from our wicked ways. These days we have become conscious of cleanliness. We wash hands, use sanitizers, bleach materials. We don’t want to catch the infection nor does anyone desire to be a carrier of it. But what about the cleanliness of our hearts?
If we want the Lord to bless us like He can and like He wants to, then we are going to have to search our hearts and turn from what is wicked. No one needs to convince another of the hypocrisy and sin in our nation. The ravages of casteism, poverty, oppression, the abuse of power, the physical and sexual abuse of women and children, and so much more…has been a chain around us. It has stopped us from fulfilling our call as a nation. Not only our nation but also we, the church in India need to be broken over our sins! We have taken the grace of God granted for so long. What we need is a season of repentance, to fall before the Lord and confess our sins and receive His forgiveness. For the Scripture says, “He who covers his sin will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13)
The call to humble ourselves, to pray, to seek the face of God and to turn from our wicked ways is not just for this time when we are facing the Covid-19 pandemic. But this is God’s plan to build a prosperous nation. The political processes, the educational benefits, the technological advancements and the selfless service of the citizens are all important for the development of this nation. But these alone cannot fix what is wrong with our world. We need God to heal our land.
Ah, but it may be objected that better days will come, whether people will humble themselves and pray or not. It may be so. But the moral loss is beyond recovery. It may blunt the moral sense, deaden the national conscience, and cause the heavenly blessings which God willed to bestow, to be lost.
How then shall we return, what shall we do, where shall we begin? It begins with each one of us. Let us not look for others to turn to God. Let it begin with me, let it begin with you. Let us not be mere hearers but doers. For if we humble ourselves, and pray, and seek the face of God and turn from our wicked ways, God will heal our land. The choice is ours to make. May we be willing to pay the price to see that take place.
God bless India, God bless the Church, God bless you!
1Smith, Richard Lee. Fruit of the Spirit: Discerning God’s Expectation in the Local Church (Indiana: Trafford Publishing House: 2016)
(Joyson K C holds post graduate degrees in Theology and Philosophy and is a PhD scholar at Pune University. He is an ordained minister of Manna Ministries. Alongside his pastoral ministry, he steers CLFA a youth movement. He can be contacted at: [email protected])