Tomorrow’s holiday, Independence Day, is above all else about HOPE. It is the natural hope of all humanity to be free and to enjoy the hope freedom procures. It is primarily why we Americans still celebrate July 4th; for the hope of freedom and the hope which protects freedom is more important than all the non-essential trivialities which garner such major attention today. Of course, there are all kinds of picnics, BBQs, and firework displays with “nada mention or recognition of the reason this holiday is celebrated; but such puerile failure does not remove the purpose for which it was first established and continues to this day 238 years later. If you were to go out to a mall and survey the crowd you might be surprised how little is known about freedom and its cost, especially among the present generation. There has been precious little perseverance to pass on to the newest generations what freedom costs and what has been necessary in costly sacrifice to keep it; consequently, without genuine change in the hearts of Americans, freedom will not be kept much longer. For too many it will never be fully appreciated until lost.
However, we must never forget that earthly freedom is only a shadow and foretaste of eternity: it never equates to the real thing. C.S. Lewis wrote, “The Apostles themselves who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the Slave Trade, all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at Heaven and you will get earth “thrown in: aim at earth and you will get neither. These great men of faith were spurred on by their hope of Heaven to do what they did on earth. The hope generated by the taste of freedom on earth is purposed by God to create an earnest desire for what awaits the believer where freedom will never be lost and hope never dies.
Lewis similarly expressed, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world…If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage. I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that other country and to help others to do the same.
The celebration tomorrow, in addition to the opportunity of expressing thankfulness to God for the blessing of freedom we Americans enjoy on earth, should also remind your heart of the hope of the REAL thing, the freedom of Heaven, and the satisfaction of your soul, like nothing here on earth has done or can ever do. As you picnic with family and friends, as you watch the “bombs bursting in air, may your hope grow in the contemplation of your true citizenship in Heaven. This is a holiday of HOPE! Know God; know hope!
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