Well, 2020 is now officially in our rearview mirror, and what a year it was!
A microscopic virus dubbed COVID-19 swept over the world, reaching into virtually every nation on earth.
ICU units in hospitals were overwhelmed through the first wave of the virus last spring, and once again this past fall. The winter months will continue to be tough as we await the full-scale implementation of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Our lifestyles have been completely altered. Social distancing. Face masks. Hand sanitizers. Travel restrictions. No mass gatherings. Businesses shut down. We’ve never seen anything like it.
In the midst of this pandemic, we had a closely contested and volatile presidential election. With mail-in ballots flooding every state, voting irregularities and fraud surfaced in a number of key battleground states, which led to closely watched recounts.
Nonetheless, on Jan. 20 President-elect Joe Biden is scheduled to be inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States. As we approach a transition in the leadership of our government in Washington, it is critically important for followers of Jesus Christ to pray for those who will be making decisions that impact the future of our nation. Just because we might not have voted for someone doesn’t mean that we get a pass to not pray for them. The Bible instructs us to pray for all of our leaders—“all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior” (1 Timothy 2:2-3). We must not give up or waver.
Pray for President-elect Joe Biden, that he would not be swayed by the voices of self-interest, but that he would listen to the still small voice of Almighty God. Pray for him every day—that God would direct his decisions.
I am grateful to God that for the last four years He gave us President Donald J. Trump. I’m grateful for a president who protected our religious liberties; grateful for a president who defended the lives of the unborn; grateful for a president who nominated conservative judges to the Supreme Court and to our federal courts; grateful for a president who built the strongest economy in 70 years with the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years before the pandemic; grateful for a president who strengthened and supported our military; grateful for a president who stood against “the swamp” and the corruption in Washington; grateful for a president who supported law and order and defended our police. I’m grateful for a president and a vice president who recognized the importance of prayer and were not ashamed of the Name of Jesus Christ.
I fully expect religious liberty to be fiercely attacked by the strident voices from the radical, progressive left who have embraced socialist ideologies to run America.
I am deeply concerned that the so-called Equality Act will elevate LGBTQ rights to a level that threatens to undermine the Biblical standards that our nation was founded upon. The Equality Act was passed by the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives in 2019 and is now pending before the U.S. Senate. Under this act, churches, Christian schools, ministries and other institutions could be mandated to hire gays, lesbians or transgender people—even though their unbiblical lifestyles are at odds with the sincerely held religious beliefs of these organizations. This has been pushed by progressive liberals for some time now, and a new administration would be almost certain to undertake their cause immediately.
In that climate, it won’t be long until churches and preachers are forbidden to confront and rebuke sin. They will call it “hate speech.” If we call someone to repentance, we could be accused of intolerance. That would cut the heart right out of the Gospel: “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38).
The march toward ever increasing immorality and godlessness is sweeping into virtually every corner of our culture. Even the financial sector is adopting a stance that would have been hard to imagine just a decade ago. The NASDAQ, our second-largest stock market, has proposed a measure to the Securities and Exchange Commission that would require companies to diversify their boards based on new cultural distinctions. NASDAQ-listed companies would be required to add directors who “self-identify” as female, an under-represented minority or LGBTQ.
This is not a time for the church of the Lord Jesus Christ to cower in a corner or back down from speaking truth.
Proverbs 28:1 says, “The righteous are bold as a lion.”
On the other hand, Proverbs 25:26 warns us to guard against the evil forces of this world. “A righteous man who falters before the wicked is like a murky spring and a polluted well.”
Whatever direction the winds of culture or government blow, believers are exhorted to stand firm in their faith, without the slightest compromise.
Taken captive by the Babylonians hundreds of years before Christ was born, Daniel rigorously maintained his devotion to Jehovah God in the very midst of a pagan culture.
When he heard that King Darius had forbidden petition to any “god or man” except Darius himself, Daniel did this amazing thing: “When Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days” (Daniel 6:10).
We know the rest of the story, but it was Daniel’s steadfast allegiance to the Lord in dark and dangerous days that underpinned his refusal to yield to the demands of a godless culture. And in so doing, he brought honor and glory to the one true God.
I can’t think of anything more powerful than the church of the Lord Jesus Christ being courageously engaged in persistent, prevailing prayer in this new year, 2021.
One thing you can be sure of, regardless of which way the political winds blow: At the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, we’re going to keep preaching the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, the message of salvation.
None of us knows how long COVID-19 restrictions will apply, but we have plans for a full series of evangelistic events in the new year. I’m looking forward to holding another Decision America Tour in 2021, and, Lord willing, I will also be preaching in Italy, Korea and Brazil.
My son Will has Gospel events scheduled in Georgia, Iowa and South Dakota, as well as Australia and Canada.
We will continue to preach the Good News of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).