United Church of God, ia
Portland and Hood River Oregon

Preaching the Gospel, Preparing a People

Major Challenges Facing America

After a very bitter and long election, Donald Trump takes office at a critical moment in American and world history. As he takes office he faces many challenges.

America's role in the world has dramatically changed over the last eight years, a fact recognized by foreign policy experts. Its historic and prophetic role could be turning in a different direction. Let's look at a list of those challenges.

• Russia has been aggressively extending its reach and influence. It seized the Crimean Peninsula and other parts of the territory of Ukraine and has been engaged in a low-intensity war with that nation for several years. Russian planes have buzzed U.S. Navy ships in the Sea. NATO and American aircraft have been harassed by Russian aircraft.

Russia's backing of Syrian President Bashar ai-Assad has prolonged Syria's civil war and the suffering of its citizens. American diplomatic efforts regarding the conflict have been frustrated by Russia's involvement.

When Europe has faltered, Russia has been quick to exploit its weakness-desiring to see a fractured European Union rather than a unified bloc of nations.

Given past history, Russia has reason to fear a powerful and cohesive Europe. However, provoking Europe into a reactionary posture, given the stress it has from the massive influx of immigrants from the Middle East, could lead to ominous developments.

• China's relationship with America is changing. China seeks to replace America's longstanding influence in Asia. It is rapidly expanding its navy and its interests with regional neighbors like the Philippines and Australia. China wants to be the arbiter of relations between Asian Pacific nations.

Disputes with Japan over joint claims to Pacific islands aggravate the historic bad blood between the two nations. If armed conflict were to arise between the two, America would be treaty bound to support Japan with military force.

China holds more than a trillion dollars of U.S. debt. This fact handicaps America's ability to effectively deal with serious issues like Chinese cyberhacking and the creation of a hostile business environment for American companies.

Despite diplomatic smiles, China wants to assert itself as the dominant world power. World leaders wish that China would rein in North Korea's nuclear program. The unstable rogue regime of Kim Jong Un is China's client. It suites China's interest to give North Korea a long leash. No one knows how much control and influence China has with North Korea. One wild action could create a nuclear conflagration that could spin out of control.

• Radical Islamic terrorism has not if disappeared. ISIS, Iran and al-Qaeda have grown in their capacity to attack global targets. Their ability to strike is wider and deeper than it has been for years.

Over the last eight years America's economic debt has doubled to nearly 20 trillion dollars. This huge, incomprehensible figure represents another significant national security threat. You don't have to be an expert to look at this and wonder what keeps America economically viable in the world. The unrecognized fact is that God is, for the time being, keeping America strong and prosperous in spite of this and many other glaring problems.

God is the "angel in the storm" who continues to watch over the United States of America. The long and prosperous history of the nation is testimony to God's enduring faithfulness to His promises to create this single great nation in the modern world.

While nations like Iran, China, Russia and North Korea and desperate terror groups like ISIS plot and wish to dislodge the United States from its position as the dominating world power, the fact is that they cannot until God removes His hand of blessing from America.

America and its new president have a moment of reprieve. There is time to hear a message of hope and to turn to God in heartfelt repentance.

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