Meridian Star

July 3, 2013

Quiet Corner: American epiphany

by Virginia Dawkins
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN — There is a scene in the movie, “You’ve Got Mail,” in which Tom Hanks and three other people are stuck between floors in an elevator. One of them voices the thought, “This thing could plummet to the basement with us in it!”

    After long anxious moments, the elevator operator proclaims, “When I get out of here, I’m going to marry my girlfriend! She loves me.” And then, a female passenger declares, “If I ever get out of here, I’m going to start speaking to my mama.”  Next, Tom Hanks’ girlfriend, who has grumbled and complained the entire time, announces, “When I get out of here, I’ll get my eyes fixed.” Now, Hanks resolves to break up with his shallow girlfriend. Each character has had an epiphany.

       My pastor says that a true epiphany is an event orchestrated or used by God with the intention of drawing us closer to God. A classic example is the New Testament story of “Paul on the Damascus Road.” Paul was suddenly struck blind when he heard the voice of Jesus. Paul’s epiphany left him with a repentant spirit. It transformed him from a murderer into an obedient servant of God.

    Epiphanies often happen after a sudden tragedy. When some unexpected occurrence shocks and sobers us, we may see things in a different way and then vow to live a better life.

    In recent years, we’ve seen constant tragedy in America. We watched the Twin Towers crumble. And now, every morning, the television blasts its way into our consciousness with the latest descriptions of bombings, shootings, terrorist attacks, natural disasters, child abuse, murder, suicides, and all kinds of evil and horror.

    Could it be that the Mighty Hand of Mercy which once blessed our country has moved away, leaving America to its own selfish devices? Is it time we realized that we are powerless, that our way of life has become unmanageable, and that we need the Higher Power?  

    In his book, "America the Beautiful", Dr. Ben Carson reminds us: “We have been the wealthiest, most compassionate, freest nation the world has ever seen. America went from a lowly colony to the very pinnacle nation of the world.”

    But he warns: “It is not, however, the first pinnacle nation to face decline. Ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, Great Britain, France, and Spain all enjoyed their time at the top. Then, as they began to decline, they all experienced some peculiar similarities: an inordinate emphasis on sports and entertainment, a fixation with lifestyles of the rich and famous, political corruption, and the loss of a moral compass.”

    Is it too late for America to recover her moral compass? George Washington said: “It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favors.”

    Isn’t it time for a true epiphany? Isn’t it time for Americans to recognize and honor again the God of our Founding Fathers?