On March 30, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln called for a National Day of Humiliation, Fasting, and Prayer for the end of the Civil War, a time of great distress and death for our nation. Today, our nation is also facing a time of great distress and death as it struggles against the coronavirus. While the U.S. has done much to battle the virus socially and scientifically, and much progress has been made, humans are ultimately in control of very little in this world. President Lincoln knew this and President Trump and Vice President Pence know this. That is why they turn to prayer.
President Lincoln's words are particularly relevant to America today: "We [Americans] have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace...we have vainly imagined in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!"
Perhaps there is no other way for people to return to God, but through hardship which they cannot ignore. Perhaps it is only in times of trouble and darkness that we are no longer blinded by material success and glittering technology. We start to realize what matters most in life. We begin to contemplate the question: Why are we here? The answer is simple. We are here to know, love, and serve the Lord.
What amazing things might happen if the nation were to turn back to God and trust in Him! "With the faith of our families and the spirit of our people and the grace of our God, we will endure." (President Trump, Coronavirus Task Force Briefing, April 5, 2020)