Tonight, we were blessed to have stood on the sand as we listened to the waters of the Atlantic, coming and going in rhythm. The ocean has been doing this for thousands of years, but tonight was different. Tonight, Friday, July 4, 2014, we were watching the amazing fireworks displays as far north and south as we could see — up and down the beach. This was, by far, the most incredible barrage of fireworks we have ever witnessed. The explosions persisted non-stop for nearly an hour, many triggered by individuals, but one quite impressive show at the south end of the beach. Thousands had gathered all along the beach to celebrate the day our nation’s Founding Fathers declared that the thirteen colonies were independent states. While we celebrate July 4 as the birthday of these United States, the battle for life had just begun with that Declaration.
Americans have celebrated July 4, 1776, as the birthday of the nation, but the United States only became free from English rule in April of 1783, after nearly eight years of fighting (The American Revolutionary War actually began in April of 1775). During those war years, many patriots gave their lives for the cause of freedom. They died to give us the freedom to govern ourselves. They died to give us reason to celebrate and shoot fireworks. Had these men chosen not to fight and not to be willing to die for the greater cause of liberty, we would not enjoy the freedoms we too frequently take for granted. These patriots sacrificed much for a cause greater than themselves.
As we stood on the beach in awe, we felt an enormous sense of pride. We Americans are so blessed. God has given this nation an abundance of His riches, blessings and grace. We are proud Americans. We are also blessed Christ-followers. We are reminded that God Himself made the ultimate sacrifice when He gave His Son, Jesus Christ, who died for us so that we can enjoy the highest freedom — freedom from enslavement and bondage that sin holds over us. If God had not been willing for Jesus to die for us, we would never know Him, His grace, nor His forgiveness. We would still be held in slavery and bondage by our sin.
I thought about these things as the skies lit up with one explosion after another. I am a proud and patriotic American. I love Independence Day. I am a blessed disciple of Jesus Christ. I celebrate His victory over sin and death, and the freedom He gives.