In the next 24 hours, you’re likely to hear the phrase “God bless America” no fewer than 500 times.
There’s always been something very curious to me about that phrase.
I mean, what am I really saying? Is it a request? Is it a command? Or, is simply a sort of nationalistic chant?
I feel like I’ve heard it said all three ways, and honestly, the latter way most of all. Heck, I’ve even done this quite a few times, barely even thinking about what the words coming out of my mouth really mean.
That kind of bothers me, not because I don’t love America, but it comes across as an assertion that our country is in some way worthy of God’s blessing. It also often conveys a message of superiority compared to other nations, which by the way, God loves just as much as America.
Don’t get me wrong, I love America just as much as any dude rocking a Dream Team jersey and an old glory bandana.
But the idea that we would look at God and say, “Look at our awesomeness and send us some love,” seems far too cocky. It feels kind of like the guy celebrating a first down despite his team being down two touchdowns. Honestly, I think it kind of makes us look like jerks.
Let’s face it, we have our share of issues going on from sea to shining sea that God probably isn’t all that happy about. There are surely plenty of ways we are currently failing to live up to God’s standards and plenty of reason for him to deny us any sort of blessing.
But luckily, blessings aren’t something that can be earned, they aren’t something for which you can build up credits.
They’re a gift, which only stem from God’s grace.
Now before you go all, “Travis hates Merica!” on me, let me say I think we should use the phrase “God bless America” and I think we should use it often.
I just think we’d be wise to use with a tone of a humble request, rather than as a celebratory cheer.
Of course, you can do as you please, but as for me, I feel far too undeserving of God’s grace to do anything but offer it as a simply plea.
God, please bless America.