I have always tried to be a person who looked on the bright side of things. Optimism has dripped from my pin. If there was a positive point, I always looked for it. It has never been as hard to do as in this dark hour for our nation.

People of letters, statesmen, historians, sociologists and theologians concur America is locked in a battle for its soul. Many of the changes being demanded will forever transform our culture. Caught in a vice of demands that, if granted, will erode our life, and the destructive influences threatened that, if not granted, are sure to bleed out our vitality.

I feel most deeply for two groups. One is our older population that is seeing all they have worked for dashed on the shoals of despair. The other consists of the youthful devotees who are preparing themselves for a bright tomorrow made possible only by a return to sanity. Both are in the valley of despair.

The bright mountaintops of victory, achievement and accomplishment are beclouded by hostility, aggression and dejection. As hate rages in our streets, love lies eviscerated by bitterness. America is not divided, it is splintered.

History reveals every great nation has a tipping point. It was not their end, but a point from which there was no return, and the end was inevitable. For some it was imminent, for others it was more distant.

Once the tipping point is reached, the end is inescapable. Let us pray America has not reached her tipping point.

Once reached, we cannot prevent the end, but we can so live as to delay it.

Enter Roy Clark and Buck Owens to sing their infamous duet, “Gloom, Despair, and Agony On Me.”

But wait, where there is life, there is hope.

The Greek word translated “hope” literally means “a triumphant rejoicing confidence,” or “a happy certainty.” In Christ we have happy certainty. God is at work in our tribulation.

The surest way to keep hope alive is found in the most commonly used word in the world. It is the Hebrew word “amen.” It is the word for “belief.” It was also used to speak of binding oneself with an oath; it speaks of faithfulness. By concluding our prayers with it, we are affirming, “Lord, I believe.” Therein is hope.

We are not going to get out of this mess without divine intervention regardless of what the smirkers say. We dare not try it without Him. He watched as ancient Israel determined to do it without Him. It didn’t work.

We have classic examples of Him coming to our rescue. Washington’s nascent army on Long Island opposing the entire British army that had defeated Napoleon is one. The life of the young nation rested on the outcome of the battle.

When World War II called upon us to engage enemies on two fronts, our national life was threatened. America went on its knees and entreated His benevolent help and got it. If we consider our need of Him now to be any less we are deceiving ourselves.

We need not only a renewed relation with the God who birthed America, but with the people who populate it. When you think of a person, especially one of another race or ethnicity, always think the way you think Jesus would think if He were the one thinking. Love one another.

“We must learn to live together like brothers, or perish together as fools.” — Martin Luther

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The Rev. Nelson Price is pastor emeritus of Roswell Street Baptist Church in Marietta. Visit his website at www.nelsonprice.com.