I have to admit that I am scared about this coronavirus pandemic. I’m not scared of the virus itself but scared of the effect it has had and will continue to have on my country. It may be corny and you might not believe me, but I have cried for my country and the havoc that we have witnessed.

When I started writing this column, I titled it “Standing in the gap.” It is based on Ezekiel 22:30, which reads “I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none.”

The words were spoken by the prophet Ezekiel, who said that God was searching not for someone to stand in the gap of a physical wall but rather a spiritual wall of resisting evil. There was no one willing to lead the people back to God, so he poured his wrath out upon the nation.

On my knees, I prayed that there were people willing to lead our nation back to God, and there are many. Unfortunately, their voices are drowned out by those who think God has no place in this nation. We were once known as a Christian nation, but now I don’t think that is the case.

Oh, many of our leaders quote Scriptures when it is to their advantage, and they will invoke the name of God when it suits their political purpose, but they twist the words to match their own version of God and his word.

We must and should be tolerant of the varied religious views in this country — freedom of religion was one of the main reasons for our founding. But we stand for freedom of religion and not freedom from religion, as many would have us become.

In these trying times, now more than ever, we should be turning to God for his guidance — not empty words for political expedience but real faith that will guide us through to the future. We need an awakening such as we have never witnessed in this nation if we are to survive this crisis.

I have been outspoken in my questioning of how our nation has been reacting to this situation, and I don’t have the answer as to whether or not the reaction is correct. But this much I do know: This pandemic has shown just how far people are willing to sacrifice their independence for personal security.

Admittedly, my cancer journey has influenced my perspective on this current crisis. I have had to come to grips with my mortality, and I know that this world is transient and there is hope beyond today. But far too many in the world don’t believe this and do all that they can to hold on to this world.

If this crisis helps to turn this country back to God, then everything we have done is worth the costs. If not, then all has been in vain.

Kevin Wilson, a former state representative, lives in Neosho.

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