Independence Day, the 4th of July, is probably the most celebrated secular holiday in the United States of America. However, I have also come to see it as a religious holiday because it is about freedom, which is not just a human desire, but a human necessity which comes to us as a gift, which originates with and is given to us by God.
In the 18th century the American colonists hoped for freedom. And God fulfilled that hope in our War for Independence. The people of the nations attacked or threatened by the axis forces of evil in the 1930s and 1940s hoped for freedom. And God fulfilled that hope in World War II, through the leadership and sacrifice of Americans and our allies. The people of the former Soviet Union and the nations it controlled hoped for freedom. And God fulfilled that hope in 1989 when the Berlin Wall came down and the whole Communist Soviet system fell apart. Today, people in nations around the world are still hoping for freedom. And even now God is working to fulfill that hope in the ongoing war against terrorism. Once again, Americans and their allies are giving leadership and sacrificing their lives in this endeavor called freedom.
God’s fulfillment of people’s hopes for freedom, however, began long before any of these events. In the Bible we can read of some of the ways God was fulfilling those hopes in ancient times. We see God fulfilling those hopes when He freed the Hebrew people from slavery in Egypt, about 3,500 years ago. We see God’s concern for individual freedom when Paul asks Philemon to set free his slave, Onesimus. We also hear Paul telling the people of the Galatian church that they have been set free by Christ, and ought not fall back into a condition of slavery to pagan Gods. Yes, the Bible tells us that freedom is God’s concern. God created human being to be free.
Freedom has always been the hope of all. people. And people have expressed that hope and their faith in God’s ability to fulfill that hope in various ways. One way has been through music, as in the lyrics of some of our American patriotic songs. Lyrics like these:
“God bless America”
“God shed His grace on thee”
“Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord”
“Our father’s God to Thee, Author of liberty, to Thee we sing”
“Praise the Lord, and pass the ammunition, and we’ll all stay free, ”
“Comin’ in on a wing and a prayer”.
Make no mistake about it. no matter how powerful are the military forces of the USA and our allies, they are not the source of our freedom. God is the ultimate source of freedom. Our armed forces are, however, an important and necessary part of the means which God has been using to fulfill the hope for the freedom of Americans and others around the world. I have hope that the time will come when God fulfills His ultimate vision of all people of all nations living together in eternal peace, love, and joy, on earth as in heaven. However, until then I invite you to join me in giving thanks to God and to those who have served and are serving God and country, on this 4th of July, and every day, as God continues to fulfill our hope for eternal freedom.
Grace and peace, Ray
Thanks for your attention. We look forward to hearing your comments about our web-site. We also invite you to send us stories of your experiences and observations of present hopes and hope fulfilled, so we can spread them around the world via this web-site. This is one way we can all join together to help keep hope alive.
May God be with you,
Patty and Ray