Heart Trouble :: by Terry James

A question that keeps popping up in our email is along the lines of [assuming it is God’s doing]: “Why do places like Iowa and that heartland region get all the flooding, have the problems, since the nation seems more sinful in other states and regions than Iowa and surrounding areas?”

Ominous Evidence Mounting
The queries come from people inside and outside of media. The evidence is building that these record-breaking, weather-related events harbor portentous meaning beyond being merely cyclical or random occurrences. The fact isn’t lost on many who have begun to pay attention. Although offered sometimes as tongue-in-cheek questions, the questions belie visceral and widespread concern among Christians and non-Christians alike.

What’s the Answer?
So, what is the answer? Why, if these weather-caused calamities–the floods, tornadoes, etc.–are of God, do they not strike the places like Massachusetts, where gay marriage has been officially sanctioned by government as equal to heterosexual marriage? Why not Las Vegas, where there is debauched activity of every sort? Why not California, where gay marriage has just been legitimized–where the homosexual populations come together in greatest numbers? Why are the “good” people of the heartland chosen out for punitive actions by the Lord? Why aren’t these things visited upon the more–in the view of many—nefarious regions of the nation?

If I may make our nation, the most materially and spiritually blessed (in the sense of ties to Christianity) somewhat analogous to the human body, we are sick. Sin-sick, and getting progressively sicker.

Heart Troubles / Stomach Problems
We have heart trouble. The geophysical problems in the heartland of America certainly seem to confirm the diagnosis concerning the proposed disease. Like in the human body when sick, society/culture exhibits symptoms of the worsening illness. Presently, the malady is manifesting the illness in the American stomach–which we often term the nation’s “bread basket”. Just as the body emits signals of systemic troubles, a collective people suffers pains of things going wrong. Again, America’s trouble is one of its heart. The symptoms are those of swollen rivers, of dead and dying crops under the flood waters that cover the fields of the bread basket that feeds not only the American people, but millions of people in nations around the world.

You might say that it is quite a stretch to compare the geophysical to the physiological–comparing weather disturbances assaulting cornfields and wheatfields to a disease attacking a human body. Perhaps so, but it certainly seems to some of us who observe God’s methodologies of dealing with sin down through the corridors of time that making the comparison is a valid exercise in addressing the question: Why do the “good people” of heartland America suffer these things–if they are God’s judgments—while the sinful people of the hedonistic regions seem to be free of the geophysical assaults?

King David, who almost certainly wrote many of the Psalms, seems to have made similar laments, saying, for example: “I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree” (Psalm 37:35).

The Seeming Injustice
That the anti-God bastions of this world seem almost insulated against ramifications of their evil works is the lamentation even today. Why do those hard-working, salt-of-the-earth folks of the Midwest suffer such loss while the evil goes unpunished?

The problem is one of lack of understanding the Creator in His most basic methodology in dealing with man. The question projects the lack of apprehension. The question presupposes that God looks at the troubles in our national heartland in the same way the one doing the questioning views what is going on.

The Great Physician knows, intimately, the nature of sin. He knows how deeply sin affects the nation. He knows how to deal with the infection. The questioners, whether derisive and mocking skeptics or believers who seek answers about why the “good people” suffer while the wicked apparently prosper, fail to understand and or acknowledge that the flooding and the winds are allowed by the Creator not as punishment, but as symptomatic forewarnings.

All Afflicted
Iowans and Californians are in the same proverbial boat. One state is not “good” and the other “evil”. The American national body –indeed the world of humanity—is suffering a terminal infection. The wages of that sin is death. This has always been the plight of civilizations since the time of the fall in the Garden.

Heart trouble…the human heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, God’s Word tells us. Scriptures tell us further: “For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not” (Ecclesiastes 7:20).

The Lord of Heaven deals individually with His children–those who are born again into His family through Jesus Christ (John 3:3). But, in the context of His dealings with mankind, all, both saved and lost, live under His corrective regime until the time His cup of divine wrath will be full: ”…for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matt. 5:45b).

All suffer sin’s debilitating effects while in this life of fallen flesh. I chose a poem attributed to Judge Roy Moore, the Alabama judge removed from his court for his stance for God’s prescription for righteousness–The Ten Commandments, a prescription fulfilled by the Lord Jesus Christ.

The poem portrays vividly, I think, the truth of our sin problem in this much-blessed nation. America the beautiful, or so you used to be.

Land of the Pilgrims’ pride;
I’m glad they’ll never see.
Babies piled in dumpsters,
Abortion on demand,
Oh, sweet land of liberty;
your house is on the sand.

Our children wander aimlessly
poisoned by cocaine
choosing to indulge their lusts,
when God has said abstain.

From sea to shining sea,
our Nation turns away
From the teaching of God’s love
and a need to always pray.

We’ve kept God in our
temples, how callous we have grown.
When earth is but His footstool,
and Heaven is His throne.

We’ve voted in a government
that’s rotting at the core,
Appointing Godless Judges;
who throw reason out the door,

Too soft to place a killer
in a well deserved tomb,
But brave enough to kill a baby
before he leaves the womb.

You think that God’s not
angry, that our land’s a moral slum?
How much longer will He wait
before His judgment comes?

How are we to face our God,
from Whom we cannot hide?
What then is left for us to do,
but stem this evil tide?

If we who are His children,
will humbly turn and pray;
Seek His holy face
and mend our evil way:

Then God will hear from Heaven;
and forgive us of our sins,
He’ll heal our sickly land
and those who live within.

But, America the Beautiful,
If you don’t – then you will see,
A sad but Holy God
withdraw His hand from Thee.

~~Judge Roy Moore~~

Wicked on Borrowed Time
The wickedness of the human heart is the heart trouble within America today that also afflicts all of humanity. Soon God’s corrective forewarnings will become His wrath unleashed. For those who ask why the wicked seemingly get away with their wickedness, the preacher of God’s great wisdom says the following:

“Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, which fear before him: But it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow; because he feareth not before God” (Ecc. 8:11-13).

Symptoms Proliferating
Shakespeare put words that ring true in our time on Roman General Mark Anthony’s tongue, in Anthony’s literary eulogy upon  Julius Caesar’s assassination: “The evil men do live after them, the good is oft’ interred with their bones…”

Certainly, man’s record of evil lives on, and worsens with each passing day. The good is more often buried within the deepest reaches of news of the hour.

Paul the apostle put in prophetic terms the ubiquitous and proliferating nature of the evil activities that would mark the end of the age: “But evil men and seducers shall [become] worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:13).

America’s heart trouble exhibits the growing evil with each and every news cycle. The heinous nature of man becoming worse and worse is pumped into our senses through hourly reports presented by electronic and print news outlets. Bad news is overwhelmingly the order of the day.

The Prognosis?
The future for America, because of the heart trouble with which it is afflicted, is bleak. It is the same deadly malady as that suffered by the entire world. All suffer equally from the anti-God disease the Bible terms “sin”. It is the refusal of man to recognize that he suffers from sin –believing instead that he can find remedies through social action or government proscription that makes it not possible for humankind to be cured. God’s Word says the following: “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof [are] the ways of death” (Prov. 16:25).

Although those terminally ill from this human spiritual condition believe they sit immune from the wages of their sin, the Lord’s Word says that the final disposition of their judgment is sometimes seemingly slow, but it is 100 percent sure.

The Psalmist records the Lord’s omniscient truth on the matters involved in man’s heart trouble, and the inevitable result.

“For I was envious of the boastful,
When I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
For there are no pangs in their death,
But their strength is firm.
They are not in trouble as other men,

Nor are they plagued like other men.
Therefore pride serves as their necklace;
Violence covers them like a garment.
heir eyes bulge with abundance;

They have more than heart could wish.
They scoff and speak wickedly concerning oppression;
They speak loftily.
They set their mouth against the heavens,

And their tongue walks through the earth.
Therefore his people return here,
And waters of a full cup are drained by them.
And they say, “How does God know?

And is there knowledge in the Most High?”
Behold, these are the ungodly,
Who are always at ease;
They increase in riches.

When I thought how to understand this,
It was too painful for me—
Until I went into the sanctuary of God;
Then I understood their end.

Surely You set them in slippery places;
You cast them down to destruction.
Oh, how they are brought to desolation, as in a moment!
They are utterly consumed with terrors…

For indeed, those who are far from You shall perish;
You have destroyed all those who desert You for harlotry.
But it is good for me to draw near to God;
I have put my trust in the Lord GOD,
That I may declare all Your works”

(Psalms 73: 3-12, 16-19, 27-28 NKJV)