Who Is Charting Our Nation's Course?

“Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth.”  The Bible, James 3:4.

The opening scene of the Oscar-winning “Chariots of Fire” — the funeral of Harold Abrahams — contains the above words from Scripture acknowledging that God, the pilot with His hand on the rudder, is sovereign not only over the ships of state but also over sport, as Eric Liddell refused to run on His God’s Sabbath at the 1924 Olympic Games. 

The title of William F. Buckley’s 1970 book, The Governor Listeth, is a tip of the cap to God’s control over the affairs of men.  This very publication takes its name from the the Declaration of Independence, which begins with “When in the course of human events” and ends with “the protection of Divine Providence.”  Benjamin Franklin told his fellow Framers of the Constitution, “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it,” and the balance of that first verse of Psalm 127 is, “except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.”

HUMAN EVENTS has named Alaska Governor and Vice-Presidential nominee Sarah Palin “Conservative of the Year,” and Ann Coulter has, as usual, nailed it in listing here the reasons to why this politician deserves the award, including “She made liberal heads explode.”

Palin, in her interview here by HUMAN EVENTS political editor John Gizzi, gives what I believe is the core reason for those exploding left-leaning heads, whether the alleged brains therein know it or not:  “My reliance on seeking God’s direction in all that I do.”

‘Tis the season to reflect upon certain things, both temporal and spiritual.  Abraham Lincoln 145 years ago authored words that seem relevant and poignant today:

“It is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, and to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon, and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in Holy Scripture, and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord. And, insomuch as we know that by His divine law nations, like individuals, are subjected to punishments and chastisement in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war which now desolates the land may be but a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people? We 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 has preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and 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. It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves before the offended power, to confess our national sins and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.”

With our nation mired in economic travail,with two wars yet unfinished and part of a larger struggle, we all appropriately ask:  Where are we going? 

The answer, whispered not shouted in this Season of both fear and hope is this:

“Whithersoever the governor listeth.”

May this nation, in our time of troubles, remember the God from whom all blessings flow.