Faith & Family

Returning home

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Susan Pons

“The family is the most important institution of the world. If the home goes, the nation is going to go.” Evangelist Billy Graham (Feb. 1918-Nov. 2018)

Home – what a beautiful word.

To my formative years of childhood, I owe most of my higher thoughts, my bigger-than-myself thoughts. I am so very thankful that I grew up in a culture that recognized and valued America’s distinctive foundations, because in my college years a sifting and a shifting began to take place in our nation to one of defiance and ungratefulness to those who had marched in advance before us.

But, as we entered university life, parents naively supposed they were sending us into the same nation they had so desperately fought for at our age. As bravely as they had faced foreign enemies, they possessed few known weapons for the unfamiliar revolutions taking place on our own soil.

Our enemy outsmarted us in an unheard-of new tactic of warfare as they stealthily lingered around our foundational walls of liberty, waiting for a fracture in our wall to appear. Where did the fracture first appear? The home. They saw the crack long before we did.

Like a game hunter tracking wild game, following their defeat in World War II, the “The Tracker,” America’s enemy, who wore no uniform, paused ever so slightly, bent down on one knee, scrutinized the tracks of our fathers’ returning footsteps, and began to follow alongside them – observing them, exploring their stride, watching for the slightest break in their determined pace. The Tracker noticed the unwavering depth, the purposed direction and common goal of our fathers’ imprints in the 1940s. It was not time to attack.

In the 1950s, while measuring our fathers’ frontward gait, The Tracker took note of feminine prints and childlike footprints, their children, continuing to pace themselves inside the large determined footprints molded by our fathers. It was not time to attack.

This disturbed The Tracker. The enemy knew better than we that duty and authentic loyalty are passed from one generation to another. But, The Tracker was undaunted as his eyes remained fixed on the trail of our post World War II culture, his prey.

Then, in the 1960s, for the first definitive time, The Tracker took notice of encouraging, significant signs of splintering in the patterns of our fathers’ forward motion. The American family unit, as we once knew and loved, began to evaporate, one tear at a time. Although the giant steps maintained an unwavering path, The Tracker noticed that inside some of the men’s steps, the lady-like imprints, as well as their children’s, were beginning to make impressions of their own, outside the home. Stepping further apart from the male impressions The Tracker first had followed, he noticed those same former soldiers, husbands and fathers, making their way into a time consuming American work world to ensure that their  children would never have to experience the poverty of The Great Depression and war-torn years their generation had survived. This became a blessing and a tragic curse to our homes and nation. The chiseled tracks of our fathers began to fade. The hopes of The Tracker began to swell as he noticed the youthful footprints, encased inside our faith and family imprints, began veering into a different direction away from home.

This was more than The Tracker had hoped for. The manly imprints were not running after the lady-like or childish footsteps that had once been encased and protected by his own. Good became evil and evil became good in our homes and overflowed into our nation.

The Tracker smiled as he licked his lips.

His very soul was pregnant with deception.

The time was just about right. 

He whistled to his messenger.

It was time to attack.

And, attack they did.

Tragically, in the 1970s, the footprints of the World War II American boys showed little evidence of alarm as the steps of the enemy they had so fiercely hounded 30 years before, walked on and over their very own imprint with words – words that did not wear a uniform. Our former victories were being erased one hounding step after another. This new form of modern warfare has and is destroying our faith, our families, our morals, and our once-upon-a-time belief in ethical liberty.

A cultural hemorrhage began to rupture before our very eyes.

It all began in our homes, first of all, and in our educational, and cultural establishments.

We silently refused to watch. But, our ears began to believe The Tracker’s foul message. 

The Tracker continues, to this very day, to celebrate its ungodly victory. So, how do we, as a nation, stop this hemorrhage? “Come, let us return to the Lord. For He has torn us, but He will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us.” (Hosea 6:1)

Billy Graham gave us the answer: The family is the most important institution of the world. If the home goes, the nation is going to go. May we all return home. Home, what a beautiful word. Home will help to heal us and our nation.

Susan Pons and her husband, Larry (both pictured above), have served for many years in the Franklin-based ministry, The Inn of Last Resort.