“That they may all be one… that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them…”
-Jesus, John 17:21-23
“One Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
-The Pledge of Allegiance
Independence Day – A time to celebrate our abundant life in a country where the brave fought and died for our freedom from the British Empire. There was conflict, there was war, and then there was freedom. Thirteen colonies declared independence and a new country was born. Our new normal began in 1776 as The United States of America. I am always struck by the easily quotable, second sentence of the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Self-evident truths. All created equal. Unalienable rights. Endowed by our Creator. Life. Liberty. Pursuit of happiness. Our country was founded by men who believed in God. They did not feel the need to prove anything about God, but firmly staked their claim of independence on the foundation of their faith. And this is where it must begin for me… Faith. Being firmly planted in self-evident truths. Staking my claim on Jesus for freedom. Every day.
Our country’s beginning did not begin in Eden, although it seems silly to point out such an obvious fact. But, my faith does begin there. In Eden, before the fall, before conflict began. “In the beginning God created…” Gen 1:1. My faith is rooted in a Creator who is good. And His creation was good. Is it still good? I know I am not the only one to get stuck right there. Many things in this life do not feel good at all. Sickness, betrayal, war, hurricanes… But, I must return to the self-evidence of truth, that I was created by God. And God is good.
Back to the story of independence and America. There was conflict, there was war, and then there was freedom. This blessed country I call home is good, even if the beginning was not. There is much goodness in the majestic mountains of Colorado, the mysterious swamps of Louisiana, and even more notable goodness in the freedom I have to be and do practically anything I want. Many countries and people do not have anything close to the life I enjoy. I try not to take this for granted, but it happens all the time. I go so fast on the track of freedom, that I forget there are many people who struggle more than I can imagine. More than I have ever struggled. And here I am again, questioning God’s goodness.
And then I remember what Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Peace is not in America, or in the world. Only in Jesus will I have peace.
He wants my heart. He offers eternal life. It is my duty and honor to live out these days with my eyes focused on truth. With my heart guarded and nourished by the good. I must keep my soul securely planted in the soil of God’s land. It is my duty to honor the men and women who serve to protect these freedoms I enjoy. And even more, to serve our great and good God and be united with others in the love Jesus died to give.