I squinted at the clock; it was only 8 am but it felt much earlier due to the lack of sleep I had received the night before. My roommate and I were driving to church, and it seemed like this Sunday was like the Sundays that preceded it. However, we were listening to Christian radio, which we have not done before. As someone who was born and raised in the church, I have grown to dislike the Christian culture that is in America. But that’s another topic for another time. My roommate, on the other hand, had not been raised in a Christian home, and God had regenerated his heart two years ago. It’s been encouraging to see that he had not become cynical or jaded towards the Christian movement like I have. The radio show we were listening to was conducting an interview with an author of a book who was claiming that America was going down in flames, and it could be prevented by people falling on their knees and pleading with the Lord for America but also repenting for their sins.
As much as I tried to forget about this author’s passionate plea, I think he raised some valid points but overall, I believe he is wrong. And today of all days, illustrates why I believe this author has missed the point. Today, we are going to be celebrating the two hundred and thirty-fourth celebration of America’s independence from Great Britain. It is a day filled with watermelon, BBQs, and fireworks but more importantly, expressing our gratefulness to our Creator for allowing us to be free. I think that this last point can be missed in the joy of the holiday. There are many gifts that God has given to our country that we take for granted on a daily basis; we must remember that it is God who has given them to us. However, our country is constantly changing, and with this change comes new struggles. I don’t think they are new for humanity, but I think they are struggles that have always been prevalent in society, and the problem is that all men, women and children have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
If we were to look back in history, we can see that history tends to repeat itself, like a record player that is broken and is repeating a section of a song over and over again. Man continues to sin could be this song, but I think there’s more to it. Man continues to sin, but God is faithful and continues to open the hearts of sinful man. Ultimately, we will never create a depravity-void society, because we are all decedents of Adam. We cannot change God’s mind or will, because we are not God. One of my favorite quotes by C.S. Lewis is the following: “I don’t pray because it changes God, I pray because it changes me.” God is not the one who is distant or far off; He is active and continues to work in the lives of people across our world, not just in America. I am sad that this author was met with resounding approval from the talk show hosts, because I think this author, as well intention he might be, is teaching the wrong message about independence to people who follow Christ. It was Christ himself who told His first followers, “In this world you will have trials, but take heart, I have overcome the world.” Jesus has met our greatest need in this life, which wasn’t solving world peace, establishing the definition of marriage, or stopping unborn children from being murdered, but He came to save sinners.
It is difficult to recall the faithfulness of God in our daily lives, because we can take our gaze from off our perfect Savior and put it onto our sinful selves. I know, because I struggle with it too. However, I think that God’s faithfulness is like a tree. God, who created the tree, knows that in order for a tree to be sustained and continued on with life, it must have sunlight and rain. In Arizona, we do not have the rain, but we have the sunlight. The sun will continue to shine, until God allows the sun to burn no more. Another way is that in the winter months (to us Arizonans, when it’s less than seventy degrees outside) the trees must die in order to live. God is the one who knows this and allows it to happen according to His will.
So when we join our friends and family today, let us gather together, and instead of just puffing out our chests with pride and love for America, let us recount the faithfulness of our Lord. He is the one who worked on the hearts and minds of our forefathers, giving them the ideals for our country, and He is the one who protected us from wars tearing this country apart. But more importantly, He continues to call men and women to repent from their sins and trust Jesus Christ.