Today in the United States it is the Independence Day AKA the Fourth of July. This is a national holiday where we gather together and celebrate the birth of our nation and celebrate all that she stands for. We do this by assembling at community spots where we applaud parades, have family or community cookouts, wave flags, proclaim all that is good about our nation by speeches, declarations and songs, and we honor veterans dead and alive who fought to keep us free.
But if we are truthful we know that America, once great, is still great but not quite so shining from sea to sea as she once was. We're tattered, a bit downtrodden, faltering. We are not a juggernaut any more. This is because we are under the Wrath of Divine Abandonment. We forsook God and He is forsaking us. He gives individuals over to their sin and He gives over nations, too. (Romans 1).
I'm so glad that I was born in 1960. I remember the moon landings, the thrill of all the new inventions the latter half of the Twentieth Century offered (internet, CDs, VHS, cancer advances, satellites). I stood amazed at the pace that inventions were popping out that made our lives easier. I loved seeing America's military might police the world. You know that the world does need a policeman, right? Just as communities do. And without one, there would be global anarchy. Well, we stepped up. I was proud.
But I am also grateful because I am now seeing the vivid and unmistakable decline. The Lord is stripping away my clinginess to earthly things, including patriotism, and He is gently turning my head to the heavens, where there is a better country.
"These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city." (Hebrews 11:13-16).
Christians are already residents of a better country, and we have prepared for us a place in a heavenly city!