The realization struck me like a blow.
“Lord, you know us better than we know ourselves, don’t you?”
“Yes, of course. I made you. Each one of you a miracle which has become a horror.”
“Those are strong words,” I said.
“I don’t think most people would agree with the horror part. They think that mankind is essentially good.”
“Originally good, yes, but now?” He stood up and walked over to the tree of life and reached up to caress one of the fruit hanging there. It looked ordinary and dull.
“Now? Yes, well, there are some problems, of course, but when we look at people’s intentions everyone is basically the same. We all want the same things.”
“What do you want?”
“Well, we want safety and protection on the one hand and provision, resources on the other.”
“So that we can take care of the ones we love and provide for them and have the freedom to pursue the expression of our individuality and create a future for ourselves. Like in America.”
“Oh, yes, the Promised Land of opportunity.”
“Yes, that’s it. We want opportunity but in the context of safety and protection. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Yes, that about sums it up.” I was pleased with myself.
“But without me.”
Was that a question? “Well, no, not exactly,” I said. “America is one nation under God, with freedom and justice for all.”
“That sounds better,” he said, turning toward me again. “How’s that working out for you?”
“What do you mean?” I asked weakly.
“How’s that working out?” he asked again. “How is your average, middle class American who has his or her life, liberty and pursuit of happiness guaranteed by the constitution, how are they doing? Are they prosperous, happy? Are marriages enriched and families flourishing? Are people demonstrating sacrificial love for one another and being a light to the nations, a city on a hill?” He paused. “After all, it is one nation under me, isn’t it? What a glorious place it must be.”
“Lord, you know better than that,” I said with my head hung low. “We had good intentions but somehow we couldn’t sustain it, at least, not as a nation.” I looked up. “There are still pockets of light, you know. It isn’t all bad.”
“Yes, and I know each one of those pockets of light by name,” he said gently.
I looked down at the dirt, my arms resting on my knees, leaning over, dejected. “You know, there doesn’t seem to be much difference between those that go to church and those that don’t. Half the marriages, even in the church, end in divorce.”
“Even yours,” he whispered gently.
I hesitated. “Yes, even mine.”
He was silent.
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A Conversation with God by Bert A. Amsing. Used with permission.
Excerpt from Whispers of the Desert Warrior by Bert A. Amsing.
Copyright © 2012 by vanKregten Publishers. All rights reserved.
Footnotes and references included in original manuscript.