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TV interview
Alan Keyes on The Answer
June 9, 2005
Inspiration Network (INSP)

DAVID CERULLO, HOST: Please help me make welcome tonight Dr. Alan Keyes. Dr. Keyes, we're just so honored that you are here with us tonight.

ALAN KEYES: Well, it's a great privilege and blessing for me to be with you all tonight. The presence of the Lord is indeed here.

CERULLO: Amen.

You know, today was a very special day for you and your family, and I'm sure our viewers and especially those here in the studio audience have no clue that you took yourself away from a very important family event. Your son's graduation from Harvard was this morning.

KEYES: That's right.

CERULLO: And you're here with us tonight.

KEYES: Yes, indeed. I wouldn't miss it.

CERULLO: Well, I tell you what, we're thrilled.

KEYES: I was glad that the Lord allowed it all to fall into place. It was a great and special day. But I figured I had to be here because my son graduated from Harvard, and he still believes in God and the freedom of the United States--and I gotta tell you, that's a miracle!

[laughter, applause]

CERULLO: That sure is. You have been a real champion, and a real fighter for freedom, for family values, for morality, for character in the United States for so many years. You've served our nation in a great way--eleven years in the U.S. State Department. You were one of the ambassadors to the United Nations under President Reagan. You've had a daily syndicated radio talk show that was syndicated around the country. You've run for president twice, in 1996 and again 2000. And every time I have ever heard you speak, you've stood up boldly and proclaimed righteousness, values, the things that this country was built on and that we stand for, and I just want to salute you and applaud you tonight for the stand that you have taken for America.

[applause]

KEYES: Well, it is both hard and easy. It's easy because I think we really have no choice. And if we look at both the history of the country and the present reality--not just of the United States, but of the whole world--I think it is quite clear that the primary thing that is threatening the future of humanity is the fact that we still have not opened the heart of this world to God and to the Lord, Jesus Christ.

And I think that that truth--which now works its way out in many ways, we see assaults on all kinds of precious institutions and values we have taken for granted, but at the end of the day what is being assaulted is really the relationship we must have with God, and that relationship in which Christ is the key is the one that I think is going to save the country--so, I don't have any choice but to speak about things in that way.

CERULLO: You know, a lot of people, in the media, in particular, would have us believe that America's values have really shifted because of what we have seen happen in some of the courts in the nation, in the absence of real judicial review--and I don't want to turn this into a political night. But all of America does not believe in abortion. All of America does not believe in so many things that the world would hold up to us and say, "This is what we hold to be dear and close to our hearts today"--but it's not true.

KEYES: No, it's not. I think it's pretty amazing, when you go down the list of things that are often cited as elements of corruption in American life--"Americans have embraced abortion, and they're embracing homosexuality, and they're embracing the destruction of marriage," and all of this--if you look at what really happened, it was the decision made by a handful of judges, under the influence of a very small minority of people, and every time you ask the people of this country, they give resounding answers that support conscience according to God, not conscience according to our own vices.

[applause]

KEYES: And so, I think we ought to have some hope and faith in that.

But you ask yourself, "Why, if that is the case, are we still living with this?" And I think it is at least in part because we need that translation, now, don't we, of that conscience and faith that in our heart of hearts we feel we need to find the wherewithal to stand up for that as Christ did. Not just in the churches, in the pews, in the privacy of our closets as we pray, but on the hilltops to proclaim it.

[applause]

CERULLO: Yes, amen. We are supposed to, indeed, be that city that is set on a hill.

You know, you searched a long time in your life for answers, for meaning, for purpose. The man you are today is a reflection of the answers that you found as you walked life's journey, the pathway, and you searched for those answers.

KEYES: Oh, I think that is very true. And the search is actually made harder, sometimes, if you are used to a certain measure of success in life. And I certainly was. I mean, I was one of those students who always did pretty well in school, and I had early successes with speaking ability and debate and oratorical contests. I got into a very good school and did well, and then came out and was one of the youngest ambassadors ever appointed in the U.S., and Assistant Secretary [of State], and all of this.

And then I reached a certain point in life where, at one level of perception, all of that turned around. And yet at another, I think it was at that point in the years of learning how to cope with a different kind of reality that I really discovered the truth and found the answer that in fact had been with me all my life, but that I had not understood in the same way. It's just as if you had been living with someone your whole life, and you turn around one day and say, "Oh, that's you! Gosh, I didn't know that!" [laughs]

And I think that that is clearly what happened to me, and happens to so many with the Lord, because He is always with us. Christ is with us always. He is with us from the moment we draw the first breath--He is with us before we draw it. And from the time that God first thinks of us, the Word that was made flesh in Jesus Christ has already had an awareness of who we are, right down to the last hair on our head, the last moment of our life. And yet, we are loathe, I think, sometimes to just open up and accept that reality until we've had the kind of experiences that reveal to us the presence of the Lord in our lives.

CERULLO: You know, a lot of people watching tonight have seen you as a political statesman, a politician. They know you as an author or a radio talk show host. They might even know you as a presidential candidate of these United States. They know that you are a great champion for freedom and for family values, but I'd like you to take just a few moments, while I step over to the side here, and let you take your liberty to share with people here in America and literally watching around the world how you found the answer to the more meaningful questions in life. Is that all right? God bless you.

Remarks by Dr. Keyes

Thank you. I want to talk a little bit about something I'm very familiar with over the course of the last few years of my life, and that's loss.

Those of you who know me as a politician know I do try, to the best of my ability, to say the things that I think are true and that God requires of me. But that has led, over the course of my last career in life, to a whole string of things that, if you just stood back and looked at them from the point of view of that political world in which I operate, I am probably making a bid to have the news media refer to me as the "perennial loser."

You know, they like to do that. They've got to pick out somebody to bear that title.

And some people might think, "Well, that might be easy. You must be used to it by now."

But I have to tell you that, as I was just saying, it's not necessarily easy. It's especially not easy when you haven't been used to it. And I wasn't used to it.

I had gone through a whole course in my life where things had--I wouldn't say they went easily, because you have to work hard, and so forth and so on--but I had this sense, "If you just work hard enough, if you do the right thing, then things will go your way."

And step-by-step, over time--yes, wasn't that the case? And how easy it is to keep your faith in those moments! Isn't that easy? I mean, you're stepping along there, and your mother has taught you about the Lord, and Jesus is your friend, and you're walking along, and you're saying the prayers, and you're doing the things that the Lord requires, and things go well, and you're thinking, "Yeah, that works! I like this! This is good."

And then a few years ago, I got into a situation--actually, the country was in it, to a certain degree--but I started to see some of the people I thought were great champions of things I deeply believed in because of my faith in God, and they started to fall silent or to turn the other way, and I started to feel a call on myself to say, "Well, you know, they say that you are pretty good at speaking," and so forth. "Don't you think you ought to start speaking up?"

And in that case, it was on behalf of the unborn, the life in the womb under assault--and of the fact that the political party I had belonged to had been committed to defending life, and there were some people trying desperately to tear us away from that. And it looked for a minute or two there as if people I had thought were otherwise committed were going to let it happen. And I just kept being nagged at by God telling me, "No, you've got to stand up. You've got to do something." Finally, I did.

I started speaking out on the life issue--finally got involved in the 1996 presidential campaign on that account. And from that day to this, the wonderful record of Alan Keyes' never-ending successes came to a screeching halt.

Now, why do I go through this? I go through this because, do you realize we live in a world that worships success? And I will have to tell you today that, like many people in this society, I was not the least bit immune to that idolatry.

Success was important to me! Why do you work? Why do you slave? Want that good job, want that good grade, want that advancement, want that office, want that ambition satisfied? We want it until we reach a point where we think that we've gotta have it--and we think that that somehow is the emblem and sign of God's grace in our lives.

Boy, do we ever forget the truth when we get down that road.

And over the course of the years, I went into these political things, and I gotta tell you, the first time I went into a political race and lost--pretty reasonably badly--I actually got physically sick. I was just not used to being pummeled.

And I would say, "Well, next time. . . ." It would go on and on. And then I was called to get involved in these presidential races, knowing, by the way, that I probably didn't stand a chance, and even there the losses didn't seem like losses.

But then I got involved in a Senate race, and so forth, and you finally reach that point where you are hit by a loss that really takes the wind out of you. And you start to be pummeled by things, where the media is coming against you with ridicule, and the devil's sneaking into your family with lies and confusion. And before you know it, it seems like on every front you are being assaulted and flayed and bleeding. And suddenly, you are feeling very, very put upon--lost, alone. And some part of you is first burdened by guilt, you know, "What did I do? Where have I gone wrong? What is . . . ," because you understand, as we all must, that we suffer because we are sinful.

But then you look over your life and you say, "But I tried, Lord! I have been trying to speak the truth. I have been trying to stand for the things that seem to be right there in your word that we have got to stand for. Why am I having to go through this? Why am I being crushed every time? Why am I watching all the people who say they believe these things desert me on every hand? Why is this happening?"

And you know how that is. You start to feel sorry for yourself, and before you know it, you're not only going through a little loss of energy and a loss of confidence, but finally the faith itself starts to shake--see, because that part of you that was worshiping success starts to say, "Well it doesn't look like this leads to . . . I'm listening to You, but it's not getting me anywhere. Maybe I shouldn't be listening to You. Are You really who I thought?" and things like this. You know how that is.

But you know what I found over the course, especially, of the last few years? As I have gone through some things that I wasn't at all sure I could get through--I can take anything laid against me publicly--but when the devil started coming against me and my family and my children, I don't know. Those of you who have children, the thing that you hope and pray for, more than anything else, more than riches, more than success, more than a job, more than anything, I just prayed that they would know the Lord, have faith in God, and walk the walk that is required of them by His will.

And when you see things happening--and we all can experience it in this society, it doesn't have to be somebody involved in this or that--you think you are doing the best you can, and you're losing your child to drugs. You think you are doing the best you can, and praying and giving yourself to the Lord, you lose your child to sexual promiscuity. And you hear about an abortion, and you think, "Oh, but she was a Christian girl! How could she do that?" And it breaks your heart, and it bleeds right there. Your heart is bleeding from a thousand wounds.

But here is what I found. I found when I was most tempted by the darkness that just wants to give it all up, and give up even that belief that has sustained you and gotten you anywhere--do you know what you find? You find that the blood that drips from your broken heart is mingling with blood already there.

You find that the pain that you are going through, and the place of pain that you are in, all of a sudden you turn around, and you hear a groan in the dark corner because somebody is already there with you. There is somebody bleeding, and scourged, and suffering. There is somebody broken. There is somebody, sinless, suffering for your sins. There is somebody who had done nothing in the whole of life except to reach out a healing hand that would make the limbs whole, that would make the eyes see, who was then broken and scourged and put up with criminals and thieves. There is somebody there Who, having done everything to save the world, was then held up to ridicule, abuse, and death itself, all innocent that He was, long before you walk that path.

See, the beauty of it is that after a whole life thinking that I was praying and walking and even sometimes struggling a bit with doubt about God and His presence, it was in the depths of the darkness and brokenness, the temptation to surrender in that darkness, that I realized that Christ was right there before me, and that I was not bleeding a drop, not sighing a sigh, not making a groan, not feeling a pain, not broken by one assault that He had not felt before me.

Sometimes, now, we can get to a place where we forget this, don't we? We become what I think of as kind of "resurrection Christians," forgetting that Good Friday comes before the resurrection. We want to have all the fruits and the glory and the joy, and we forget that Christ isn't just there with us when things are going well and we are feeling the joy, and exalted on high, confident in the power of God because it's making good things happen for us. He's there when, despite every good we do, evil is still whipping us down the street. He's there when, in spite of everything we have tried, temptation still breaks us into sin. He's there when we are falling beneath the burden of our own fallen nature and our own fallen world and our own inability to believe in the face of all that fallenness. That's when He is there.

See, and I discovered, in the midst of all of that, the true presence of Christ in my life--the Christ that isn't about whether you win or lose, whether you're up or down, whether this one or that one is saying anything about you. The presence of the Lord that is only about this: the peace and the love and the joy and the mercy that you find when, yes, like the Lord, you're up there on Calvary. You're all by yourself in the midst of the darkness at noon, and you just let go. Let go the way He did: "My Lord, my Lord. Why hast thou forsaken me?" But then the truth, that in that brokenness and darkness, you just commend your spirit, as Christ did, into the hands of God.

And it is in that moment, just following that example, lifting up your hands in helplessness to say, "OK, God. I give up." And you just give up. And He lifts you up. And you just give up, and you can still go on--because Christ showed you the way.

I think that that is the most important moment of my life. And I can say it because it's not just that I found Christ, but that in the midst of the seemingly worst experience, I found Him again, and knew that He had been there before me--that He had shown the way, and that therefore, however bleak it looked, I knew that there was a doorway into the light, and it was my Lord.

There must be folks tonight who are like that, because we are all, in that way, brothers and sisters in this fallen flesh, aren't we? We can feel the scourges and the pain. But please remember that Christ joined us in there. He has been in this skin, He has felt the wounds, He has bled the blood. He has even faced that moment when everything came together to crush Him, and He just looked at God and said, "Why hast thou forsaken me?" But in that moment when everything was at its worst, He showed us the wisdom. Just giving up, just surrendering all of it to our trust and faith that God will nonetheless be outstretched with His hand to keep us from the void.

So, if that's where you are tonight, I think you need to understand that you are not alone. See, you only think you are. Because, wherever the worst place is in your life, whatever the worst fear is that you have had to confront, whatever the worst defeat and failure, whatever the worst loss, whatever the worst moment, when you thought you had given your all, and surely God would be satisfied, remember that the perfect One who did no wrong, Who healed with every word and every touch, and loved with every moment and every gesture of His life, yet He had to be in the same place of pain and brokenness that you may find yourself now.

And if it's in your conscience to think, "I am weighed down by this burden of my sins," then remember that He's been there already, and He's carried it away. And if it's in your heart to be shaken because you've done your best and tried to walk the walk, and it still seems that on every hand the world and the devil, they come against you, just remember that He has walked the path before you, He has felt the wounds, He has bled the blood--that you go nowhere He hasn't tried out, and that you will end up nowhere that He has not already triumphantly emerged from.

And remembering that, knowing that as the truth that is there in lives like mine, and lives like others who have, not by any, any stretch of our own strength or abilities finally discovered that nothing we are and nothing we do can save us, in the end, from the darkness--it is only Christ, the Lord.

And if you believe that tonight, then I would ask that you just take that belief and hold it in your mind. Wherever you are, whatever your hurt, whatever your pain, whatever your loss--you've lost a loved one, you've lost a daughter, you've lost that sense of your own purity and integrity to sin, you've lost your hope, you've lost your future, you've lost your career--whatever it is you think you've lost, just take that loss and give it up and commit yourself, as Christ did, into the hands of God, and pray that He will come into your heart, so that you will share the knowledge that He has of the places where you are, of the places where you hurt, of the places where you need. And even in His pain and brokenness, He will make you whole and take you with Him. For, He surely rises again and again and again in every moment, even, of our lives.

So, pray that prayer. Just pray that, "Dear Lord, come into my heart. Take from me the burden of my sin. Turn me from those ways that burden my heart. I acknowledge You, the Lord, Jesus Christ, as the Lord and Sovereign of my life, and into Your hands with all my heart I commend my spirit and my flesh and my future and my life."

And if you can ask the Lord in, He can show you the way, because He has already been there. And if you need a little help in figuring that out, there's a great book, "The Angels in Heaven Rejoice," that will give you a sense of what the next steps can be, of how one begins to walk that path, because God has given us instructions, you know, once we are willing to listen. It reminds me a little bit of our children, you know how once they are willing to listen, they might actually learn something from us. Well, once we are willing to listen, there is in the word of God a detailed path laid out for us. And it may sometimes lead to places like Calvary, but in the midst of those places, if you draw the Lord within you, then in the darkest times, you will still find Him there. And finding Him there, the darkness will be light, and the pain and the suffering will be over. And you will stand with Him, on Good Friday, yes, but knowing that it is, too, the moment of your resurrection.

God bless you.

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