"O beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain, for purple mountains majesties above thy fruited plain! America! America! God shed His grace on thee and crowned thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea."
- Poem composed by Katharine Lee Bates in 1893 while riding a train through a state in America.
America still is beautiful, and God's grace continues to be sufficient for mankind. However, when we look out on this beautiful America with our natural eyes, we see a decline in the beauty of America.
Our cities, towns, and neighborhoods are laden with poverty, poor school systems, racism, drug addiction, teenage pregnancy, homelessness ... and the list goes on. We become discouraged when we think about the condition of the world; and to further top things off, we hear and see the news reports of violence and the recent natural disasters caused by tornadoes, heavy rains, snow and out-of-control fires. These natural disasters have caused many to lose their lives and life possessions. People are devastated by the loss of loved ones and their life possessions. But there is hope in the reassurance that "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble" (Psalm 46:1).
If we could stop and take the time to look at the world and America through the eyes of our Savior Jesus Christ, the beauty of life would be restored.
Jesus sees the world as hopeful and beautiful. In the book of Genesis, after God would create something, he would look and say that it was "good." God does not change. If His creation was good during creation, it still is good today, for when we see things as Christ sees things, the world is beautiful.
Life is wonderful through the eyes of Christ. In John 10:10 the scripture reads, "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."
Christ does not want us to lose our hope for a beautiful life and a beautiful world. When we read the above scripture, we can take Christ at his word and know that in his eyesight life can be overflowing with love, beauty, kindness and goodness. However, the thief that is mentioned is the "devil," the evil one. The devil would like to cloud our spiritual eyes with all of the ugly things of the world and have us think that there is no hope. The devil desires to steal our joy, self-confidence, kill our influence and our love for life and our trust in God. He also would like to destroy our faith and trust in a God that loves us so much that he sent his only son to die for the sin of the world (John 3:16).
Today let's begin to look at life and this world through the eyes of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Let's begin to fuel our spiritual eyes with the wisdom and love of God so that we can truly sing "America the Beautiful: God shed his grace on thee and crowned thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea!"
- Anderson is the co-pastor at Love Unlimited Ministries in Williamsport.