Sadly, many of us take the event lightly, failing to remember what got us to where we are today and how many suffered and even lost their fortunes and lives for the cause of freedom. History shows that when people feel they are privileged and become "soft," things can turn sour fast. One only need to look back at the Romans to see how a great and powerful nation-state can wither and die. But I think on this Sunday Morning Coming Down, the problem is a much bigger one. For when a nation founded under God starts losing His connection, the foundation of its essence begins to crumble. So, if we truly love our land and want it to remain strong and prosperous, we need to redouble our efforts to return to faithful obedience to the One who created us. Only then can we expect His blessings and support to guide us and, even then, we can expect Him to test us to see what we are truly made of.
But think back to the beginnings of what would ultimately be the United States and all that it took to advance to what we became. I like to look at Sir Walter Raleigh, that great world dreamer and visionary who knew there was a bigger world out there and he saw it as destiny. Raleigh had the support of Queen Elizabeth I and established a colony on little Roanoke Island in North Carolina as the first English settlement. And although he was never allowed to personally take the trip, nor did it ultimately survive to become permanent, it opened the door which led to Jamestown in 1607 and then Plymouth Rock in 1620 and the seeds of America were sown. It didn't take long for those brave colonists to realize that the Mother Country was taking advantage of them, "taxation without representation," if you will, and the beginning of the movement for freedom which culminated with the Declaration of Independence was under way.
The wise Founders knew that it would take more than great men to both win the struggle with England and design and organize a new country. They knew that Almighty God must play the central role if the New Land was to be a success. They had seen the folly of blindly following mortal man and the suffering it created and they were determined to make something better. And they were successful, albeit with "bumps and bruises" along the way. But, then again, they realized that they themselves were mere mortals and continually reminded themselves of the need for godly intervention in all that they did.
Have we made mistakes along the way? Of course we have, but we've also developed and advanced a unique experiment in governance which the entire world longs for. Why do you think the rest of the world wants to be here? Yet, as we've seen in recent years, we've also faltered severely in our allegiance to God and that likely has created the outbursts and waves of hatred and violence that are so common today. But America has been through tough times before and whenever she gets her bearings right with God we always bounce back.
Think about the dark days of World War II when we were losing the war, but somehow a pilot got a break in the weather and spotted all those Japanese aircraft carriers in the Pacific and the tide began to turn. Or how about in Germany when thousands of soldiers were freezing to death, surrounded at Bastogne until, again, a weather break came and our forces arrived to save those who were besieged, thus stopping the final German thrust.
Things like that don't happen by luck. They happen because of divine destiny and when we Americans have our heart in the right place and turn ourselves over to the will of the Living God, true miracles do happen in real life. And that, my friends, is what we need to think about as we approach this two hundred and forty-second celebration of our nation's independence. Past history has shown that a government such as ours usually has about a two hundred year lifespan, a time frame we've surpassed. But if we get involved, demand that our leaders operate in a God-centered fashion with respect for individuals instead of collectivism, we can still prevail. God has put that in our hands to do with as we choose. Let's choose wisely, my friends, let's choose wisely.
Dear Lord, We thank you for the gift of freedom that you have given we Americans and we ask that you open our hearts to rekindle your Spirit in all that we say and do. Help us to understand that with you, we can do anything. Without you, we are nothing. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.