On this, the glorious fourth, as Charles Ingalls called it, most of us think of barbeques and fireworks, and in our society of “tolerance” the reason of what we’re celebrating is often not mentioned at all. Or only briefly and vaguely. Many people living in America are ashamed of it, and some even hate their own country. I urge every God-fearing American to find out the truth about our founding fathers and our history, but for the purpose of this blog I would like to quote our 16th President, Abraham Lincoln, when declaring a national fasting day: “Whereas it is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions, in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will leas to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord…we have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven. We have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us! It behooves us then to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.”
I understand that this may make some people uncomfortable, but they are his very words and I cannot change it nor would I wish to. I believe Lincoln to be partially referring to this passage “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear form heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” ( 2 Chronicles 7:14) We are threatened with losing our freedom more and more every day, what can I say to give hope? On this day of all days.
Only this, that if freedom were a thing created by man, we would all surely be lost, but freedom is a thing created by God; it must be, for only the ultimate power can both be free and bestow freedom on anything. Freedom is the gift given to all men, and sadly abused by all men, (hence our present situation;) but take heart, for freedom can never be destroyed by man just as it cannot be created by him. It is true, one man may enslave another in body and force him to do things he does not like, but the soul and mind cannot be enslaved except by a man’s (or woman’s) consent. It is more our attitude of bondage than actual bondage that stops us from acting. Do not let any mere mortal dictate how you view yourself, or you are, in a sense, in bondage to them.
Freedom is divine because it gives choice in a world where most things should not have choice. Why have a choice whether or not to eat? We all need to, but we are not compelled to, nor to do most things to take care of ourselves. Only love gives a choice, because only love is willing to risk not being satisfied if the beloved should not choose the lover. In the natural, man does not want to risk, therefore I would move that freedom has to come from a different source other than man.
On that note, I would urge every God-fearing citizen to pray for our country today, and if you do not believe in God, to at least be thankful, that people who did, gave us the rights we still enjoy. I would also urge you to remember a holiday is not a day to gratify yourself, but to be grateful to and gratify others, as I think our traditions of inviting people to parties and giving gifts and cards, shows. Lastly, please remember that freedom is not freedom unless there is also responsibility. Don’t be afraid because of oppressors, but stand up to them, because they never last forever. It’ll be okay eventually. We want to have balance between awareness and hope. Now I’ll leave you to enjoy your 4th of July. God bless America.