Some 242 years ago our forefathers made the courageous decision to declare independence from our mother country. They must have fully understood that England was not going to let the brightest star in the galaxy of their colonies go without a fight.
Nevertheless, there comes a time when declarations need to be made, when decisions have to be expressed, and when people take upon themselves the right and responsibility to be free.
A tremendous struggle ensued and, by God’s grace, a new nation was born where individuals were recognized as having “certain inalienable rights,” such as “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
While the history of our young nation has not always reflected these values, I strongly believe that because of its Christian foundation, our country has enjoyed the special mercy and blessings of God.
Not everyone agrees with the doctrine of American Exceptionalism, that the USA occupies a special purpose and mission among the nations. I’m not sure if the goal of its critics is to deny that our country is particularly great, or that God, if there is one, cares about our destiny.
While I am aware of the unrighteous details of our national history that blight some of our greatness, I cannot dismiss the fact that there has never been a nation like ours, nor unlikely will there ever be.
As the first modern functional representative democracy, we have been for the past two centuries the best hope for those who seek freedom and security to live life to its fullest with minimal interference from their government.
All in all, righteousness, justice, and hope have cemented our culture as we have assimilated immigrants from every corner of the world. Even our harshest critics cannot deny that our “huddled masses” are not looking to escape elsewhere.
In fact, we continue to wrestle with the tremendous difficulty of accommodating all who try to migrate here, legally or otherwise.
I think that our “specialness” was sealed when brave, committed Christians left the security of their former home to pursue the freedom to serve the Lord God as they saw fit.
They carried with them an absolute trust in the Word of God and a nearly absolute distrust in the government of men.
They longed for a place where they could build a truly biblical civilization whose very existence would be a testimony to every race and nation in the world.
They understood that the laws of men, unless fully based on the commands of the Lord, gradually erode freedom and justice.
Every system of government that leaves out the supremacy of God has failed and will continue to fail. The frustrating cycle of revolution and counter-revolution will go on forever until the hearts and minds of men are transformed by the Holy Spirit.
Today our country is faced with numerous and serious challenges. Our continuing war with Muslim Jihadists, a looming trade war, deteriorating global security, and a massive immigration problem have exposed the impotence of the leadership of men, even if well-meaning. We seem to be simply out of “good ideas.”
The sectarian acrimony and political bickering have gotten us nowhere, except into deeper frustration and despair.
The fact is, our only hope is in God, and most of our hapless leaders continue to prove that. The good news remains as it has always been: God’s love and mercy are great.
He responds to our prayers of faith and repentance. He ever seeks to re-establish his covenant with those who actively pursue a relationship with him. Moreover, he blesses those who put their hope in him (2 Chronicles 7:14).
Psalm 33:10-22 reads:
“The Lord foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples. But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance. From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth—he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do.
“No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength. A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength, it cannot save.
“But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine. We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as put our hope in you.”
As we celebrate the birth of our great nation, may we all shamelessly declare our dependence on God’s unfailing love for our country and put our hope in him alone. May his saving grace sustain us through every crisis we might face, now and forever. Let us all keep faithful and prayerful watch over our own hearts and minds as we face the troubles of this world so that they stay guarded by God’s peace that passes all understanding. Amen.
[LeRoy Curtis of Peachtree City is pastor, teacher, missionary and author. In 1990 he and his wife, Judy, answered a call from International Outreach Ministries to establish the Kenya Ministry Training Institute in Kitale, Kenya, where LeRoy wrote the Basic Inductive Bible Studies (BIBS) curriculum. The Institute continues to train pastors and church leaders to a scriptural worldview in East Africa. The curriculum, available in English on Amazon, has also been translated into Spanish and is being currently used in Latin America. You can read about LeRoy and Judy’s experiences and observations in their book, “Out of It in Africa: Dispatches from Clueless Missionaries.” LeRoy and Judy currently reside in Peachtree City. You can reach them at firstname.lastname@example.org.]