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A Two-Hundred-Forty-First Birthday Lament

Independence Day, 2017

By JD Wetterling

O God, our country is a mess,

Such vile discourse and faux duress.

Alas, a pol's blood has been shed—

But for Your grace he would be dead.


Our governance through compromise

By noble souls, good-willed and wise,

Once deemed the wisdom of the age,

Has been usurped by fools who rage.


Elections used to set our fate.

Now they excite a vicious hate,

Our common ground has disappeared.

Are these the end-times we have feared?


PC has spread—metastasized—

And politics have putrefied.

World hist'ry proves internal rot

Can fell a state without a shot.


Kids choose their sex despite the facts

And moms kill babes in selfish acts.

Vain sodomites think they have won,

Till that day comes all meet the Son.


There was a day we used to say

That God smiles on the USA,

But in His wrath we too can trust—

God gave them up in all their lust. (Ro. 1:24)   


Such foolishness will not end well,

His Word declares eternal hell.

They've swapped God's Truth for Satan's lie,

And been appointed twice to die. (Rev. 20:14)


John Adams' wife once wrote to him:

It's God who mounts this whirlwind.

In sovereign grace this storm He steers,

Trust Him alone to calm your fears.


'Twas good advice from Abigail

Her family Bible she knew well.

Our God's in charge and for His kin

The end will be a glorious win!


"And unto Him who mounts the whirlwind and directs the storm, I will cheerfully leave the ordering of my lot, and whether adverse or prosperous days should be my future portion, I will trust in His right hand to lead me safely through, and after a short rotation of events, fix me in a state immutable and happy…Adieu!" (Abigail Adams in a letter to her husband, Sep. 16, 1775, quoted in John Adams, a biography, by David McCullough.)


Dear friends, consider Mrs. Adams' calm assurance and bold conviction during a perilous time for our country, and on this stormy Independence Day, emulate Abigail.


John Wetterling 1945-2015

I spent ten weeks at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota at the end of last year with my brother. He did not make it in spite of the best efforts of some of the best doctors on the planet. We've been close all our lives, but grew even closer in those trying days in ICU. My grieving lasted about a fortnight after he went to be with the Lord. Now I'm just envious. See you soon, brother.

In heav’n two brothers now reside
I long to enter in.
My elder is the Son of God—
His blood paid for my sin.
My younger suffered long and hard,
But faith gained him the win.

I’ve often wondered why it was
John had so many trials,
While I, big brother, got a pass
In spite of countless fails.
By grace John bore it all with class
The scheme of Satan pales …

Why, LORD, so long in Mayo’s care
Without recovery?
Perhaps a doubting nurse was there
Who heard two brothers pray,
And sought with scripture to compare,
And thence she found the Way?

Our sov’reign God controls it all
We need not know the how.
If such travail saved just one soul,
On bended knee we’ll bow,
With thanks for giving us a role
In His salvation vow.

Perhaps it’s wrong but I can’t hide
The feeling that haunts me.
In just eight days since brother died,
My grief’s now jealousy.
His joy’s complete. From sin he’s freed,
But mine I ever see.

O LORD, you’ve numbered all my days
Before the first one was.
They dwindle down but they’re your ways—
My fitness You must cause.
Renew in me a heart ablaze,
Eradicate my flaws.


We both were gung-ho, two young fighter jocks.
Our blight was psychotic—a love affair.
Belov’d was inert, ferocious and fast.
She looked mach one as she sat in the chocks.

The Super Sabre, but we called her “hun.”
A sweptwing killer and seraphic fly’r,
We fondled her switches and lit her fire
Then mated on takeoff—became as one.

My wingman and I liked night sorties best.
The trucks all southbound on Ho Chi Minh’s Trail
Made lovely explosions when we prevailed.
The dark made it hard, but we ace’d the test.

Once as we ravaged a truck motorcade,
Big triple-A guns tried to spoil our fun.
I pulled off the trucks and dove on a gun.
High noon at midnight—a bold (?) escapade.

The big guns went silent. Were they all dead?
Can’t know for sure on an inky dark night.
My wingman then asked where to take the fight.
“Just drop another round right on their head.”

A lifetime later those words I regret.
More guns belched fire as he dove in the night.
Two huge explosions said both lost the fight.
MIA is the term—he and his jet.

The term haunts the soul so much more than “dead.”
The God who made both of us worked His plan,
And eons from now we’ll both understand:
His blessing was greater: he went ahead.


“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart
and with all your soul and with all your strength and
with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”
Luke 10:27

A fool for Christ I’ll gladly be.
His love I want to make you see.
I’ll not be mute as you go down.
Please stand with me, await a crown.

Yet it’s not me who gives you sight
Or puts the light in your dark heart,
The Holy Ghost—He brings the flame.
Amazing Grace was Newton’s name.

It’s but for me my faith to share,
To bring the Gospel to your ear.
The rest of it’s the Spirit’s part
To move Good News from ear to heart.

That God chose me’s a mystery.
He set me free for eternity,
His name to glorify and praise
And share His love for endless days.

So it’s no chore, it’s gratitude
That generates this preaching mood.
A bigot, hater—woe is me?
I will forgive. Your eyes don’t see.

I pray that God inclines your mind
Forsooth His Truth can rock your world—
Eternal life by faith alone:
Christ on the cross, your sins atoned.

There’s more of this Good News to know:
Your faith’s a gift by God bestowed.
Repent of sins that hold you back.
That too’s a gift, if you just ask.


Astounding is this thing called sin,
It makes the God of love and grace
The enemy of men.

Those with the deepest sense of sin
Still can but weakly comprehend
The sinfulness of sin.

But this we know from Holy Writ,
It took the blood of His own Son
To sate His hate of it.


(A parody of The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost
His poem is not about choices, though it is most commonly
interpreted that way. This parody is unequivocally about choices.)

Two roads confront most all mankind,
Sooner, later, but certain no less;
One broad, meand’ring, easy to find,
The other straighter but not so wide.
The options seem vague, I must confess.

Both roads extend on beyond one’s sight;
One just moseys through Vanity Fair,
One is unswerving, not left, not right,
One entices with sinful delight.
It bids you to dance without a care.

Both roads lead on to eternity
And once you arrive there’s no return.
One’s all perfection and glorious glee,
Infinite love in God’s company;
One’s a pit where you’ll endlessly burn.

One road’s well-trodden, one not so much
The toll booth requires Fidelity.
Holy Spirit, the giver of such,
Remakes hearts of stone with just a touch
And then dwells within as surety.

The choice is real but you cannot see;
Original sin beclouds your view.
Our God is sov’reign and only He
Can fix your eyes and from bondage free
And make crystal clear the way for you.

Your time may be short—which will it be?
Best seek the LORD while he may be found
And wonder of wonders, you will see.
‘Tis God who sets the captive heart free.
His grace so amazing, so profound.

So ask God for faith, it's not home grown,
It’s a free gift from a sovereign LORD.
Miraculous thing, being reborn—
Joy without end, tho the world scorn.
It can’t be bought, but Christ can afford.

And you will declare with joyful sigh
Midst boundless majesty eons hence:
Two roads diverged in my life, and I—
I took the one Christ traveled by,
And He has made all the difference.


Three times in the last chapter of the last book of God’s Word, Christ says, “I’m coming soon” (Rev. 22:7,12,20). Repetition is the Holy Spirit’s most used way of making a critical point in the Bible. Twice is common. Three times? Exceedingly rare.

If time is up and you’re still shy
Of what it takes to win the day,
What will you do before the Guy
Who’s hand holds your eternity?
‘And behold, I am coming soon.’ (Rev. 22:7 )
‘Surely I am coming soon.’ (Rev. 22:20 )

You love your sin, you run roughshod,
You plan to wait until the end,
And make it right with angry God,
Then you awake, see Him descend…
‘And behold, I am coming soon.’
‘Surely I am coming soon.’

When clouds roll back and there He is
The saved will shout “O victory,
Our joy’s complete and we are His,’”
While lost souls shriek in agony.
‘And behold, I am coming soon.’
‘Surely I am coming soon.’

Please give some thought to just how dire
Will be your lot forevermore:
Eternal dark and unquenched fire
‘Cause God’s own Son you did abhor.
‘And behold, I am coming soon.’
‘Surely I am coming soon.’

Hell’s free of Grace, your lusts will rage,
You’ll gnash your teeth, and gnaw your tongue
Without relief through endless age.
Abject despair—it’s never done.
‘And behold, I am coming soon.’
‘Surely I am coming soon.’

There’s such an easy way to win:
Ask God for Faith, He won’t despise.
The blood of Christ will purge your sin
You’ll sing His praises to the skies.
‘And behold, I am coming soon.’
‘Surely I am coming soon.’

Eternal bliss for God’s elect,
No tears, no pain, great joy. Believe!
Why take a chance that I’m suspect?
Ask and repent; you will receive.
‘And behold, I am coming soon.’
‘Surely I am coming soon.’


Do you disregard the claims of our God?
Perhaps mildly curious but just not awed?
Is continual pleasure your life’s goal,
Do you follow your lusts and shun your soul?
Do thoughts of your death ever make you pause
And ponder the gist of Holy God’s laws?
This God who controls when you next inhale,
If angered, doles out a fate worse than jail.
Might it just be worth a bit of your time
To ask for enlightenment in your prime.
The key is to fear him--honor and awe.
He will remake you with nary a flaw,
Fit for eternity, joy without end,
His infinite love you can’t comprehend.
The end of the matter; all has been heard.
It’s man’s whole duty: fear God, keep His Word.
(Ecclesiastes 12:13)


The most pernicious heresy
That ever plagued the mind of man:
I’ll be okay, my will is free,
I’ll earn my place in heaven.

It’s “damnable,” by Luther’s lights,
That somehow man could himself make
Deserving of eternal life,
Without Christ’s death for his sake.

It takes unmitigated gall
To think that sin is no big deal,
When God’s Son was, you should recall,
Crucified to pay the bill.

As Holy Wrath God’s Son did fear,
Great drops of blood fell from His face.
O unsaved one, don’t feign good cheer.
Christ hurt hours—you’ll hurt always.


This dry and weary land, O Lord,
Makes laws by a judicial board.
Here babies die at mother’s whim,
Proud sodomites may flaunt their sin,
And courts mandate I celebrate,
While they call me a man of hate.

Send down your angels, God, I pray.
And rescue us from this sad day.
They mock your name, deride your grace,
As with your Son, spit in your face.
They won’t repent, they love their fun.
The day will come—they’ll chew their tongues.

But as for me, I well recall,
You picked me up from Adam’s fall
And pulverized my heart of stone.
I’ve been reborn, unworthy one.
Miraculous, amazing grace!
One day I’ll see my Savior’s face!

My gratitude leads me to pray:
Please do the same for them this day.
No sinner is beyond your grace.
May earnestly they seek your face.
Lord, bring revival to this land.
Our country’s fate is in your hand.