These Are The Times That Try Men’s Souls

November 25, 2012
by Steven Lambert

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These are the times that try men’s souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.

At the time Thomas Paine wrote those words, it looked like we would lose the American Revolution and some people were walking away because times were getting tough. By saying “These are the times that try [or test] men’s souls,” he was saying, “This is how we’ll see what your spirit is really made of. Do you leave when things look bad, or do you have the courage to stand up for what you believe in?”

Somehow these words seem apropos in this hour.

Election Aftermath

Pot-heads, sodomites, pro-aborts and all common moochers, are sharing a collective thrill in the afterglow of President Obama’s re-election. Added to that list are Ayman al-Zawahiri, Ayatollah Khamenei, Vladimir Putin and Chris Matthews, as well as millions of others.

Who can deny that the American people by a clear majority have rejected fiscal responsibility, energy independence, national security, border security, and traditional family values. In the mind of many of us Barack Obama’s re-election is a complete political, economic, moral, social and spiritual catastrophe.

However despite the very real implications of America’s bad news, Christians still have substantial hope and reason to remain joyful.

Let’s briefly detail some of the reasons why Christians should rise above the depression and hopelessness that has gripped so many.

In Hebrews 11, we’re encouraged to consider the lives of the faithful saints of old. Some of these men and woman lived very blessed lives and experienced great prosperity. Others suffered terrible hardships. What they all shared, however, was a vision, a hope of “a better country,” a heavenly “city.”

Consider what the Bible has to say concerning Abraham:

“By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” [Hebrews 11:9-10]

As our “great thinkers” ponder and pontificate the reasons for the outcome of the election, I notice that many of them postulate that we conservatives have not been sensitive to the minorities, women’s rights, and especially illegal aliens. Please!

Let’s turn this around. In response, though I’ve been a close observer of national politics for well over half a century, and have seen many Liberal defeats, I don’t remember ever hearing them ever so much as hint at the possibility that “we’ve been too strident on the abortion issue” or for that matter any of the issues they hold dear. No matter how many elections they lose, they seemingly have no self-doubts.

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However, they have no inhibitions when it comes to telling conservatives –we’re defeated by our core values.

As sad as it is to watch our great country take such a harsh left-lurch into irresponsibility and outright godlessness, I’d like to remind us that our ultimate and eternal citizenship is not here on earth. We’re to live within this corrupt and perverse age as aliens, foreigners, whose eyes are forever fixed on our true, eternal home. Consider this passage as we imitate these saints of old:

They admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country – a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. [Hebrews 11:13-16]

Think about it; anywhere you open the bible you find people who live in nations where they are a minority, and where persecution and hatred of the Godly is common. This is after all, how life was for the early Godly folk. Perhaps our hope has been too focused on this life, on our stuff and our comforts.

Maybe if Americans are made a bit more uncomfortable, we might shift our eyes to the heavenly city, to the country that God is preparing for us. Maybe that’s one plus behind this election catastrophe.

In one of the most well-known prophetic messianic Psalms, we read the following description of what Jesus will accomplish when he returns:

The LORD will extend your mighty scepter from Zion; you will rule in the midst of your enemies….The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek. The Lord is at your right hand; he will crush kings on the day of his wrath. He will judge the nations, heaping up the dead and crushing the rulers of the whole earth.” [Psalm 110:2,4-6]

One of the primary events that will accompany the return of Jesus as he establishes his messianic kingdom over the earth from Jerusalem is the judgment of the many unrighteous, self-serving and corrupt politicians throughout the whole earth. As the Psalm states, when Jesus returns, before he establishes his kingdom, he will “crush kings on the day of his wrath.”

While some may feel uneasy with this point, personally, I take great comfort in it. Who among us doesn’t truly grieve at the degree of corruption, character assassination, slander, lies and deceit that so many politicians use to acquire and maintain power? The Lord will not allow this to remain unpunished. There is coming a day of justice.

For now, America is governed by a man many of us feel is a truly unrighteous individual, a race-baiter, a divider, a liar, and a destroyer. And while I would not suppose to know anyone’s heart, I do take great comfort in the fact that there is one who knows the hearts of all people and who has promised a day of justice for all of the earth.

So I will continue to stand and fight for this great nation, believing that there is yet hope for repentance, revival and restoration. As I watch this beautiful country slip away and devolve into something almost unrecognizable, I take great comfort in knowing that a heavenly country lies ahead. I have been promised a kingdom, and it is on this kingdom the eyes of my heart are fixed. And even more than the coming kingdom, my eyes of hope are fixed entirely on the coming King.

I wrote a song many years ago called, “I’m not letting anybody steal my joy!” I’m standing by that.

Hear this: the present man in office will never have control over my emotions and will do nothing to steal my joy.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. [Romans 15:13]


We were also reminded of some words written by the author of this article some four decades ago, that since have been memorialized in the recordings of many Gospel recording artists:

I’m learning to lean, learning to lean
Learning to lean on Jesus
Finding more power than I’d ever dreamed
I’m learning to lean on Jesus

The joy I can’t explain, fills my soul
Since the day I made Jesus my King
His blessed Holy Spirit is leading my way
He’s teaching and I’m learning to lean

Sometimes we can be like the man who said;
“My life is full now, I have everything!”
But there is a strong rock in Jesus, my Lord
Through my trials I’ve been learning to lean

Sad, broken hearted, so often I’ve knelt
And I’ve found God’s peace so serene
And all that He asks, is a child-like trust
And a heart that is learning to lean

I’m learning to lean, learning to lean
Learning to lean on Jesus
Finding more power than I’d ever dreamed
I’m learning to lean on Jesus

There’s glorious victory each day now for me
I’ve found His peace so serene
He helps me with each task, if only I’ll ask
Every day now, I’m learning to lean

I’m learning to lean, learning to lean
Learning to lean on Jesus
Finding more power than I’d ever dreamed
I’m learning to lean on Jesus

[Learning To Lean, by John Stallings]

John Stallings is an award-winning Southern Gospel songwriter, who wrote numerous classics such as: Learning To Lean, Love Grew Where The Blood Fell, Touching Jesus, One Day I Will, You’re All Invited To My Mansion, Blessing After Blessing, Light The Light, Angels Camping All Around Me, God’s Gonna Do It, and many more. His songs have been recorded by many well-known Gospel artists, including, The Blackwood Brothers, The Speers, The Stamps Quartet, J.D. Sumner, Wanda Jackson, Del Reeves, Wendy Bagwell, Roy Rogers & Dale Evans, among many others. His singing career was launched at the young age of six in a citywide revival at famed Soldier Field in Chicago. At the age of sixteen he began preaching. John was Nashville’s prestigious Dove Award recipient in 1977, as well as many other awards over the years. He’s also a veteran pastor, evangelist, church-planter, and travels internationally with his wife, Juda, as singing evangelists. They reside in Altamonte Springs, Florida. John’s twin-daughters, Mary Alessi and Martha Munizzi, are both award-winning Gospel recording artists and songwriters in their own right, who with their husbands co-pastor churches. John’s blog, Wisdom and Wit of John Stallings, is a featured column here on Spirit Life Magazine (see left sidebar).

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1 Comment for this entry

  • John Stallings says:

    As usual you aced this one pal. Thanks for the faith and confidence you place in me. We’re laborers together.

    Be blessed and enjoy the season of Christmas.

    Your friend,