While July 1 is Canada Day, the nation actually seems to take July 2 to remember the birth of our nation. All the stores were open yesterday and are closed today. So today seemed like a good time to thinking about the day. I do not have a lot of customs on this site, but Canada Day is customarily a time I pause to reflect on this nation and form some thoughts about what has happened in it over the past year. Let me look back three years and see what direction my thoughts have taken in previous years and then express a few thoughts about the past year.
Three years ago I wrote “On Canada Day and Kissing The Mailman.” It was something of a mournful article in which I reflected on Canada’s decision to elect the still-corrupt Liberal Party, despite years of waste, corruption and mismanagement. “This year, as I reflect on my country, I feel a bit like a man who has caught his wife kissing the mailman the day before they were to celebrate their anniversary. I feel no real desire to celebrate my nation today and am both disappointed and disillusioned. So I will take the opportunity to thank God for providing me a nation where, for the time being, I am able to raise my family to know and love the Lord. I thank God for freedom and safety. Perhaps in a week or two I will take some time to celebrate my nation, but not for now. The pain is still too fresh in my mind.”
Two years ago I affirmed God’s sovereignty, despite Canada Day falling only a few days after the reading into law of a new bill that guaranteed the rights of homosexuals to marry. And since that day, multitudes of gay Canadian couples have tied the knot. Already Canadians are dealing with the first homosexual divorce cases. Despite this gross violation of God’s law, I took comfort in God. “I guess this year my confidence in God has increased and I know that all of these things merely point towards the truth of God’s Word. Nations will continue to stray farther and farther from God. The Laws will become increasingly ungodly. Yet through it all, God is ever in control. I can’t help but be reminded of Psalm 2. “The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his anointed.” But what is God’s reaction to this? “He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision.” In their burning desire to do evil, the nations only make God laugh. He holds them in derision, knowing that He is supreme and that His purposes will prevail. And that is my comfort on this day.”
Last year I looked back to some encouraging events. Canada had just elected a new government after the Liberal Party lost the confidence of parliament and was forced to call a new election. Canadians, finally reacting to the ongoing corruption of the Liberals, elected the Conservative Party and their leader, Stephen Harper, to a minority government. Harper claims to be a believer and the evidence seems to support his claim. To this point he has led the nation quite well. While he cannot roll back the clock on decades of the slow decline of Canadian morals and beliefs, he is making great strides in attempting to relieve some of the Canadian tax burden and in attempting to increase the accountability of governments. “As I reflect this year, I realize again how important it is that I do not place my hope in men. It is foolish to grow too excited or too depressed when thinking about a country’s leaders. For, as I suggested last year, it is God who is in control. He was in control when the Liberal Party was elected time after time, and He is in control now that the Liberal Party has been set down in disgrace. And this is where my confidence needs to be. Not in the fact that a Christian has ascended to the highest position in the country, and not that there seems to be no obvious Christian presence among the nation’s rulers. Our confidence is that God rules even the mightiest of men, even if they do not submit to this rule.”
And now we come to 2007. To the surprise of most political commentators, the Conservative government has survived the year without losing confidence. The minority government, always in a shaky position in our system of government, has retained power. Sadly, they have done so, at least in part, through compromise and particularly through compromising to Quebec. Still, Stephen Harper, our Prime Minister, has shown that he is a capable leader and he has lived up to his campaign promises, even trimming back the hated Goods and Services tax right on schedule. He has stood strong on keeping Canadian forces in Afghanistan but has shown that he will not be pushed around by other nations. He has also taken a stand on the Kyoto Protocol, refusing to accept unrealistic and irrational standards that the nation has no hope of meeting.
Despite this, I feel a little less confidence in governments and rulers than ever before. Last year I had to remind myself not to put my trust in men, but this year I think I’ve realized how any man, even a Christian man, can cause disappointment. I suppose this just goes to reinforce that it is foolish to put our confidence in men, no matter how good or godly they may seem. At the same time I’ve also learned just how much I love this nation. Every now and then I begin to think that it might be nice to head south and join my family in the States. But I soon realize that I truly do love this country and feel called to be a light within it. Canada is largely a pagan nation and there are terribly few true believers to be found. I just don’t see myself feeling able to leave anytime soon. If God is going to do any great work in this country I know it will have to be through the small numbers of Christians who remain and who can testify of His power and presence. I’ve been praying for this to happen and hope to stay here and to see an awakening sweep this nation. May God make it so.