What will you be doing today on Independence Day? If you are like many Americans, fireworks will be involved. Maybe you will have burgers, potato salad, and Jell-o shaped like an American flag. At any rate, you will likely be celebrating. Sometimes I wonder if we really give much thought to what we are celebrating on July 4th. None of the Founding Fathers or soldiers who fought hard to gain our independence are alive today to tell us the difficulties they faced. Those of us born in the latter 20th or early 21st century (though I hope no one born in the 21st century is currently contemplating marriage ~smile~) may appreciate our freedom, but do we really understand what it means to be free? Do we really understand how easily it can be lost?
Imagine: just a few different historical decisions made and America would never have existed. Which then is amazing how close many of us came to never existing – this shows the handiwork of God and His perfect timing. John Adams, America’s second President – and one of the most influential of our Founding Fathers – said, “But a constitution of government once changed from freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.”
When it comes to taking liberty for granted, I am one of the guiltiest. Freedom has always seemed like a part of me… something that followed me… something I somehow inherently deserved. However, after studying history and other parts of the world, I realize how truly blessed I am to be the descendent of those who fought with their very lives to engender American freedom. I don’t deserve freedom; it was purchased with the blood of my ancestors.
The Founding Fathers were not only thinking of themselves when they put everything on the line for independence. They were thinking of the generations to come and they wanted their children and their children’s children to enjoy the freedom to pursue their own dreams and their own religious convictions. In another quote by John Adam, he said “I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.”
As you contemplate marriage, you likely have a list of important things to consider in a spouse: how to speak to each other, how to remain loving in the midst of hardships, how often you both pray for each other. As we celebrate our nation’s independence, I would like to present you with another important thing to add to your list as you enter marriage: how often you pray for our country, its President, congress, and other leaders.
I hear the plea to pray for our nation often, but if you are like me, you are quick to brush it aside as if it is a trite saying; however, the way our world is changing, it is so important to lift our country up to Heaven in prayer. What happens to our country will affect us, our marriages, our children, and the freedom we have to practice our faith. Our leaders, no matter how much you may disagree with them, need you to lift them up in prayer (I Timothy 2:1-3). Their decisions will affect us and God is big enough to influence and guide even the most stubborn of politicians – He changed Pharaoh’s heart. When we are faithful in praying for our leaders, it is American patriotism at its finest.
I sincerely hope you enjoy your Fourth of July celebration with family and friends. In the midst of celebration, let me challenge you to take some time today to remember why we are celebrating. Spend some time thanking God for His provision of this land for us and ask for His grace and blessings on our country. You may even want to take a few minutes and brush up on some American history.
I’ll end today’s post with one last quote from John Adams. After spending many years away from his family in order to fight for our independence, he said, “Oh posterity, you will never know how much it cost us to preserve your freedom. I hope that you will make a good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in heaven that I ever took half the pains, to preserve it.” Never forget that your freedom was not free.
Amidst the hotdogs, lemonade, and fireworks, have you taken the time to reflect on the Fourth of July?