A stay of execution does not a pardon make. I realize that for the individual being walked up the gallows, feeling the rough noose slipping over his head and feeling it tighten around his neck the distinction is meaningless at best, but once he has had time to process, once he has had time to assess, once he has time to come to terms with the reality that he will live to see another sunrise, eventually, inevitably, he will be confronted with the unyielding reality that sooner or later the walk down the gallows will commence anew, and the feel of the tightening rope will once more be a reality.
What happened in America last night was a stay of execution. It was not a pardon. We must be very clear about this because I know as surely as I am sitting here that the voices will begin to chirp anew insisting that God has somehow forgiven a nation that never repented of its sins, and that He has somehow restored a nation that has never humbled itself. Just because we managed to dodge a protracted, painful, and pernicious suicide by political correctness last night, it does not mean that we have somehow come into fellowship with God anew as a nation.
It simply means that God has shown this nation grace, He has stayed its judgment for a season, and if true change is not evident beginning with the church and sweeping out from there, when next He weighs us, when next He will be called upon to once more decide whether He will stay our execution or allow judgment to be poured forth, we will be judged not only for what we are profoundly guilty of up until this point, but also for the season of grace we will have once again squandered from here on in.
Yes, I do believe last night was an act of sovereign grace. If this election had gone the other way, I am certain we would have been at war with Russia within six months of Madame Chairman Rodham being sworn in, and that the persecution against the household of faith would have been accelerated to a breakneck speed.
A merciful God has once more shown this nation mercy, and now it is up to us to decide what we will do with the mercy we’ve been given. It is up to us to decide what we will do with the reprieve and stay of execution that was handed down by the Judge of the Universe.
This is just the first of many critical moments we will have to face as a nation, and if you think it will be rainbows and kittens from here on in you are fooling yourself.
So, yes, take a second, breathe a sigh of relief, say a prayer of thanks, enjoy the sunshine on your face, but then roll up your sleeves and get to work. Not tonight, not tomorrow, not next week, not whenever we get around to it and we have nothing left on our agenda.
The countdown clock has already started ticking, and in what will seem like the blink of an eye this nation’s case will once more be up for review. What we do from this point to that will determine whether we still have a future, and whether our stay of execution will once more be extended.
Do I believe that we’ve avoided judgment altogether? No, I do not, but the best we could have ever hoped for was a reprieve, a delay, a season of grace wherein we could return to the purity of simply being about our Father’s business and preaching Jesus unashamedly once more.
We have so much work to do, and time is shorter than we might think.