Independence Day is probably one of my favorite holidays. I met my husband during this time of the year. We were married almost exactly one year later. We typically celebrate our anniversary and the holiday together; after all, who doesn’t want fireworks on the day they devote themselves to remembering their love story?
I adore our tradition. We rent a hotel room downtown and take in the annual festivities on foot. We walk to the corner Mexican restaurant, enjoy a shared order of fajitas, and then stroll toward the capital lawn holding hands. We listen to the Baton Rouge Concert Band play a delightful recital. In a beautiful assortment of community, we are among the families who gather atop picnic blankets or sit in folding chairs that have been carried down the grass-lined sidewalks. Children laughing, miniature American flags waving, and warm night breezes fill my senses. A local celebrity greets the crowd and shares the history behind each song. The music selections are different every year, but the theme is the same–patriotic classics. Instruments beautifully orchestrate pieces such as “Yankee Doodle” and “The Star-Spangled Banner.” I love it. It feels so Americana–like I’ve wandered into a Norman Rockwell painting.
However, I find it somewhat ironic that this holiday has grown to be so significant in my life. I believe one of my greatest sins is my independence–my pride–my desire to be self-sufficient and in charge. While I have come to realize that it’s truly far better for God to guide the path of my life, I often find myself wrestling with this same old deception and grappling to hold onto the reins.
Looking back over the years, I can distinctly recall times when I made poor decisions based on something I wanted. I didn’t ask God or seek His counsel. Instead, I determined what was best and pushed Him out of the process, sometimes pleading for His blessing along the way. Every time I did this, the results were terrible. Sadly, I believe we as a collective people do the same thing. Nations rise and fall after all.
George Washington, quoted here, understood the connection between God and country. “It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.”
How does that correlate to the current state of America? Have we wandered too far away from the narrow path?
Thankfully, even though we often navigate a volatile political atmosphere, we are not out of God’s care or reach. The Bible shows us:
- God’s heart for the nations and all peoples of the world. (Genesis 17:5, 1 Kings 8:60, Isaiah 56:7, Acts 1:18, Revelation 7:9-10)
- His desire to aid us in our allocation and administration of His resources. (Ephesians 2:10, Romans 8:28, Genesis 1:1-31)
- His love for us is fantastic. (Deuteronomy 31:6), unfailing, and faithful. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
As Christians, we are assured that God doesn’t leave us or forsake us. When we stray, if we repent, He will take us back. He will hold our hand and walk with us along grass-lined sidewalks as we remember our love story with Jesus.