Happy Birthday, USA!

by Nancy Tichy, Author for KidZ at Heart International

I’m writing this on July third, the eve of our nation’s 241st birthday celebration.  In the morning, I’ll harvest some peaches from my fruit laden tree out back, watch motorized golf carts, draped in red, white and blue bunting, go by my mobile home, and meet up with family members in the evening at a high point in the valley to watch fireworks displays.

I am unashamedly proud and grateful to be an American.

Having spent a little over twenty years in what we once called a ‘third world country,’ I know how good I’ve had it here.  I raised a family in another land where police intervention was often corrupt, postal service a joke, fire protection and garbage collection non-existent and health services mainly for the privileged.  For nearly a year we lived literally in the shadow of our embassy, and for all our time there we were blessed with protection due us as American citizens and the benefits of a well-functioning, missionary community.

Don’t get me wrong, we loved our ‘adopted land,’ primarily for the amazing people with whom we built relationships and the opportunity to share Jesus – and to enjoy the beaches.  I’ve never regretted this past adventure being part of God’s plan for my life.

But lately, I’ve begun to feel uneasy as I look around me and witness eroding values, the kind that have made the country of my birth a beacon of hope in a world full of violence, a world lacking basic human kindness in so many places.  Our media, for the most part, is little more than a smudge pot spewing out angry propaganda, guilty of outright mud-slinging, disregarding and distorting truth, sowing disrespect.  I’d like to post a sign in front of my home with 2 Chronicles 7:14 printed on it in big, bold letters:

If my people, who are called by my Name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and forgive their sin and will heal their land.

I’m not basically a worrier, but I am concerned for what I see coming in my grandchildren’s world.  In my life time, more changes have occurred it seems, than in all of previous history.  And change seems to roll in exponentially, now, along with population growth.  I can’t even begin to imagine what the world of my great grandchildren will be like.

I’m also a firm believer in a sovereign, loving, all-powerful Heavenly Father who is orchestrating the advance of his Kingdom on earth.  Maybe I see the dark side of the tapestry too often, full of tangled threads, knots and chaotic stitching.  Heaven sees the other side of history and I’m convinced that the almost universal desire for a ‘happy ending’ to the stories we write and read, indicates a God shaped desire in the very core of our being that only he can fill.

That’s why I spend so much of my time attempting to share hard-earned wisdom from my past that will challenge today’s parents to remain vigilant to God’s mercy, to offer themselves as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, an act of worship, not conforming to the pattern of this world, but transformed by the renewing of their minds, able to test and apply God’s good, pleasing and perfect will. (from Romans 12)…remembering that God holds each generation responsible for the next to pass on the knowledge of his mighty deeds and reflect his wonderful character. (Romans 145:4)

I intend to spend some extra time tomorrow quietly thanking God for the land that I love. May we all take seriously the promise contained in 2 Chronicles 7, finding ways to share it boldly with those we love starting with our own children and grandchildren.

God bless America!

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