- The Washington Times - Monday, October 1, 2001

Excerpts from a sermon given yesterday by the Rev. Marcus E. Turner at Beulah Baptist Church in the District.
Our goal in life is to see God in every circumstance, even in a cloud of grief. The Gospel says, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God," and the prophets say, "Seek the Lord where ever He may be found."
A cloud of grief can blind us and make it so difficult to see God. In our reading [Isaiah 6:18], the prophet Isaiah felt that way after King Uzziah had died. The king was special in the life of the prophet.
But in a vision, Isaiah fixed his eyes again on God. He accepted that God gives and takes away, and he praised the name of the Lord. Our Savior Jesus Christ, facing His own death, saw through a cloud of grief. When the thorns were put on His head, He was able to see God. He said, "Father, not My will, but Your will."
Our response should be the same when a cloud of grief gathers. It gathers during deaths in the family, or layoffs, hurts and pain. When grief is all around, you can't stop there. You will die. So it is 19 days after the attack on America. Our society is in a cloud of grief. We need to move ahead focused on God.
News reports have been telling us what America needs now retaliation. But I believe what America needs is Jesus, and it needs revival. We need a strong dose of repentance. We must turn back to Almighty God. America must put its focus in the right place.
We are surprised at the moral breakdown and that people can do such evil. Yet the Bible has foretold it. Matthew speaks of "wars and rumors of wars."
In the last days, men will do anything to receive pleasure. Yes, we like to watch. We like to look at transsexuals on "Jerry Springer." We get a kick out of so much foolishness on TV.
The world is falling apart, and that is why we need the Lord in our lives. When I speak of revival, I'm not talking about "over there." I'm talking about the person you see in the mirror in the morning. I can't change you, and you can't change me, but we can change ourselves.
Consider the world of the prophet Isaiah, a world filled with sin and iniquity.
"They have forsaken the Lord. They have provoked the Holy One of Israel."
The nation was without God, from the sole of the foot to the top of the head, and that sounds like America today. Our nation is in moral trouble.
It's not the trouble that lends to saying it's the fault of the white man or the black man, or that it's the Democrats or the Republicans.
To see God for real, the fight must happen within ourselves.
We need a new awareness of God. That is what comes to Isaiah in the sixth chapter.
To a certain extent, I believe America today has a new awareness of who God is.
King Uzziah was a great and good leader for 52 years. At the end of his life, he transgressed against the Lord. It was no longer about God, but all about Uzziah. His death left a great void in the nation and in the heart of Isaiah. Then, Isaiah saw the Lord in a vision. He had not seen God because he looked too much at a king.
We all have our Uzziahs. You may see only the things you love. You may only see your church, or your husband or your wife, or just your children.
Maybe it's your nation or a president that you like. You see them, but you don't see God.
Sometimes God moves aside your Uzziah so you can put your eyes on Him.
We have forgotten about God, and why He gave this nation its blessing. A Uzziah has been taken away. You can't help but see God. Yes, we turn to God at our weakest point. But it takes us, and knowing who we are, to see through that cloud of grief. When the thrones of this world are empty, we see God on His. You can see through that cloud. You can know He will lift us up. God does not change. He keeps his promise.
Next week: a sermon by Imam Faizul Khan at the Islamic Society of the Washington Area in Silver Spring.


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