When President Obama visited New Delhi, India a few weeks ago, you will recall he scolded Christians and America for our "past mistakes."
He also planted a tree in honor of Mohandas Gandhi.
The Peepal tree was awash with leaves when President Obama planted it, however, by Thursday of that week all the leaves had fallen off and it was a lonely bare stem.
The Associated Press and KOMO in Seattle are reporting that the lack of leaves is giving Indian officials "sleepless nights" with local media "blasting them" for allowing it to die.
The Peepal tree is seen as "holy" by many in Asia because it is said the Buddha attained enlightenment under the same kind of tree in 589 BC.
The head government horticulturist is telling people not to worry, promising, "It will send out shoots within the next ten days." They say it looks dead, but it isn't.
"It is a cyclical," he says.
I don't know much about Peepal trees, nor do I care, but this story brought to mind something we all should care a great deal about.
Rather than Obama's withering tree in India, many Americans are, and rightly should be, deeply concerned about our withering freedom and liberty here in America.
What was once a thriving, robust, fully leafed tree of liberty, sometimes appears to be a single stem with few to no leaves.
That, too, we are told is cyclical. It's all in the way the tree is cared for.
While the secular progressive left suffocate the tree of liberty, they too promise, "It is not dead--it just looks dead."
B.A. Katiyar, India's top horticulturist, says their "Obama" tree is suffering from a "seasonal phenomenon," but everything is going to be just fine.
We have been reminded in the past few days how fragile our freedom---particularly our religious freedom is.
With the ruling against Richland florist Barronelle Stutzman, and similar rulings across the nation, people who value religious freedom have hopefully become awakened and more vigilant.
But it isn't just the assault on religious freedom with the attempt to deconstruct and redefine marriage while punishing those who do not celebrate it, it is a frontal attack on liberty and freedom on every front.
Bloomberg Business channel said last Saturday that "Obama has left the DNC a withered institution." Many feel he is leaving the institution of liberty and freedom withered as well.
Our nation is drowning in a whirlpool of newly discovered rights and demands---from free condoms to free college. Privileges have become civil rights in the minds of evolving secular progressives.
How should we respond to our times?
Andrew Jackson, in his farewell speech said, "But you must remember, my fellow citizens, that eternal vigilance by the people is the price of liberty, and that you must pay the price if you wish to secure the blessing. It behooves you, therefore, to be watchful in your states as well as in the federal government."
President Dwight Eisenhower told the last generation, "A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both."
He also said, "No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation."
Patrick Henry, a devout Christian and American Founder tells us, "The battle sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave."
Scripture instructs us to "Be sober, be vigilant because your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" (I Peter 5:8).
A few days after the 9-11 attacks on America in 2001, Benjamin Netanyahu told Brian Lamb on C-SPAN's Washington Journal, "The Romans used to say courage is not the only virtue, but it's the only one that makes the other virtues possible."
It was Andrew Jackson who also said, "One man with courage makes a majority."
Alexander Hamilton was disgusted with the way some of his fellow citizens were caving to forces that did not share the view that America is an exceptional nation and were advocating appeasement, when he said, "A nation which can prefer disgrace to danger is prepared for a master, and deserves one."
God places a high value on courage.
Read this: Deut. 31: 6-8. "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, 'Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the LORD swore to their forefathers to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged'."
John Adams said, "Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people."
Thomas Jefferson added this: "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free...it expects what never was and never will be."
It has been said that the blood of patriots must from time to time be spilled to refresh liberty and freedom.
That is true.
This is a greater truth.
"If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land" (II Chronicles 7:14).
Ironically, Thomas Jefferson was perhaps one of the least religious of our Founders, yet this is a prayer he prayed for our nation.
Almighty God, You have given us this good land for our heritage. We humbly ask You that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of Your favor and glad to do Your will. Bless our land with honorable endeavor, sound learning and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion, from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties and fashion into one united people the multitude brought here out of many nations and tongues. Endow with the Spirit of wisdom those to whom in Your Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that through obedience to Your law we may show forth Your praise among the nations on earth. In time of prosperity fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble do not allow our trust in You to fail. Amen.
Be Vigilant. Be Courageous. Be Prayerful. Be Blessed.