God reigns over the nations; God is seated on his holy throne. Psalm 47:8
President Barack Obama recently visited both Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the two cities obliterated when the United States dropped nuclear bombs on them in 1945, ending the war with Japan. As first sitting U.S. president to see these landmarks, he did not apologize for the actions of his country, but only spoke of healing between the two nations. The other day, a Minneapolis woman was killed while driving her grandchildren home in her own neighborhood. She was the innocent victim of gang violence. This week, the Iraqi army prepares for a major assault on the terrorist organization ISIS in the occupied city of Fallujah.
How can anyone say “God is in control?” The world seems to be falling apart! Today is Memorial Day, a day of remembrance for those who have died in service to the United States of America. Many also commemorate departed loved ones who may never have been in the armed forces, but hold special places in the hearts of those left behind. Is there really any point in remembering all those who have gone before us, whatever their mark on life?
I believe many of the answers to these questions can be found in the words of the songs we as a nation sing on this holiday of memories. We sing of “heroes proved in liberating strife/who more than self their country loved, and mercy more than life.” It is the shining example of those who unselfishly and willingly fight for freedom who give us reason to hope. Our country’s “alabaster cities gleam, undimmed by human tears.” Our free nation shimmers in God’s light in times of deep distress as well as joyous celebrations. “Let the Hero born of woman crush the serpent with His heel” goes the second verse of The Battle Hymn of the Republic. What a glorious, victorious image, of Christ “marching on…with a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me!” It is Christ’s redeeming love to which we cling, bringing us the hope that our nation and this world are in His hands. Indeed, the seldom-sung last verse of “The Star Spangled Banner” says, “Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.”
Victorious Savior, You are indeed in control! Let us never doubt that “from every mountain side,” Your grace and freedom ring! Amen