Will God Protect America During Our Fourth Great Crisis?
Every 80 years or so the United States goes through a major crisis. The first was the War of Independence. The second began in 1861--80 years after British General Cornwallis surrendered to George Washington at Yorktown--when the Confederacy fired on Fort Sumter sparking the Civil War. Eighty years after that, in 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor forcing America's entry into World War II. Next year will mark the 80th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor and judging by current events we are certainly living through America's fourth great crisis.
In their book The Fourth Turning: What Cycles Tell Us About America's Next Rendezvous with Destiny, William Strauss and Neil Howe make the case that history is cyclical and is made up of four repetitive generational archetypes: the Hero, the Artist, the Prophet, and the Nomad. Each of these archetypes lives during a specific generation of history, what the authors call a "turning."
According to the authors, there are four turnings in a cycle, with each turning lasting approximately 20 years, and thus it takes approximately 80 years to complete a cycle. The authors call the First Turning the High--think of the years following World War II. The Second Turning is called the Awakening. The Third Turning is the Unraveling and the Fourth Turning is the Crisis. According to the book the current cycle began just after World War II and we are currently in the Fourth Turning--the Crisis.
Strauss and Howe appear to be correct in their cyclical view of history. As I demonstrated above, the United States has had three major crises since our national birth and if the 80 year cycle is accurate, we are due up for our fourth. What the fourth crisis is going to be exactly is still shaping up, but it is becoming more and more clear that it is truly upon us. With the pandemic, the riots, the economic collapse, the division, and talk of civil war and revolution, it no longer seems to be a question of whether we can avoid the crisis, but rather how bad will it get? The last three major crises represented the most difficult periods in American history, but due to our turning away from God, I fear this one might be the worst yet.
In the past, God has smiled upon America and allowed His mighty hand to protect her. For example, the United States should have been crushed by the British military, but through God's providence we won our independence. Likewise, in June of 1863 the Confederate Army was threatening Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and it seemed likely that the United States was going to be forced to make peace and allow the Southern states to form their own republic. However, the next month at Gettysburg the tide turned and the Union was preserved. Certainly, victory over Japan and Germany was far from certain until rather late into the Second World War, but again, with God's providence America and her allies prevailed.
As America's fourth great crisis accelerates I can't help but wonder if the Lord will be with us this time. Will the United States be destroyed? Will she collapse? Will she devolve into a totalitarian dictatorship? Or will the forces of good once again triumph? Will God bless our nation by His providence as He has so many times in the past, or will He lift his protective hand to punish us for our many sins?
Israel often sinned against God and was punished for it. But God did not lift His protective hand from her allowing her to be destroyed until she had completely turned from Him. Like Israel (and all other nations throughout history) the United States has committed a multitude of sins, but God has still graciously smiled on us. We called out to Him for help in 1776, 1861, and 1941 and He answered. But I fear this time will be different. Now we no longer call out to God. Now God is often portrayed as evil, when His existence is even acknowledged at all. Devotion to Him is something few perform, and those that do often relegate it to one hour on Sunday. The rest of the week is all about our own carnal needs, wants, and ambitions.
Not only have we abandoned the faith, but we have abandoned objective truth and moral restraint. Sex is no longer a sacred act, but something we do for fun and with reckless abandon. We ignore God (and biology) and pretend that we can turn those God made male into female through the false god of science. But most troubling of all, this is the first great crisis since Roe v. Wade. Since 1973 we have allowed and even celebrated the legal murder of millions of God's precious little blessings, sacrificing their lives for our own selfish convenience. Throughout the Old Testament when God punished wicked peoples the evils that are most often cited are sexual debauchery, idolatry, and child sacrifice. Twenty-first century America has those three in spades!
The prospect of God lifting His protective hand from us can be extremely depressing, especially as we watch our country fall apart on the nightly news. But take heart, for with our merciful God there is always hope! As the Bible tells us, if we humble ourselves and pray, and seek God's presence and turn from our evil ways, He will hear us from heaven, and pardon our sins and revive our land.If we do not, America's fourth great crisis might very well be our last.
R.C. VanLandingham is a husband, father, and author. His most recent book is the Christian fantasy Peter Puckett & The Amulet of Eternity!