Fides has clouded and obscured the religious landscape of America for at least the past forty years. There's little argument that our nation was founded in the smooth seas of Christian belief. With clarity of vision our framers did, however, launch this democratic republic in the calm waters of religious freedom. Our citizens can choose their religious choices by personal preference, including the safe harbors of no religion. At some juncture in the past four generations, however, Fides has lashed our people with a new anti-Christian bias. You see, Fides, the Latin word for "faith", has become a pressurized system of hostile thought. It's torrents and winds today have shifted the course of the nation and our Godly heritage is hidden in its stormy path. Fides, the storm of faith.
The squalls and rough seas of Fides have swept the practices of faith into oceans of doubt and certainty. Prayer has basically been tossed overboard in American public life. Storm surges have engulfed the public reading of Scripture, distribution of Bible related materials, and traditional American thought about marriage, gender identification, and other ideals of Christian leaning. Under the torrents the sanctity of human life has been flooded by the strong currents of secular thought. Fides has also rained on educational systems, accreditation of institutions, the role of educators, and the peace that has characterized our system of government.
Of course, Scripture affirms faith as the enduring strength of nations and citizens. Our learning here is profound---
1. Faith is a stalwart of life.
Th anonymous author of the Epistle to the Hebrews wrote, "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen" (Hebrews 11: 1, ESV). This Christian faith gives us shelter in life's storms, and the perseverance to continue when those other storms are bursting upon us. The Apostle Paul wrote, "We walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5: 7, ESV). Fides, the storm of faith, questions the many promises of God that secure people of faith. Spiritual wavering and drift are the result.
2. God blesses nations of faith.
Yes, assuredly, many of the promises God made to nations were intended for the nations of Israel, God's chosen people. But, the truth of God's favor to people united by faith is extended to all people in every generation. The Psalmist wrote, "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!" (Psalm 33: 12, ESV). Under divine inspiration the prophet Isaiah wrote, "For the nation and kingdom that will not serve you shall perish; those nations shall be utterly laid waste" (Isaiah 60: 12, ESV). And, of course, there is the essential truth of 2 Chronicles 7: 14,
"If my people who are called by my name 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". Fides doesn't have to blow us away.
3. Faith is God's work in individuals manifest in culture.
Yes, faith is a personal decision. In the United States, more than 65% of our nation identify as holding Christian belief. These Americans, in individual and in corporate settings, should influence the nation with a Christian perspective. Jesus said, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age" (Matthew 28: 19-20, ESV). Making disciples is our commission. It is how we calm the storms of Fides.
4. Our influence is how we live and how we witness our faith.
Years ago I heard a Bible teacher say, "Our nation doesn't want the God they see in us". This is a profound indictment about our life witness. Simon Peter wrote, "Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation"
(1 Peter 2: 12, ESV). Later he added, "But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3: 15, ESV). Fides can be calmed with the genuine lifestyles and witness of Christian people.
There it is, Fides, the storm of faith.
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