Yesterday was the Fourth of July, a holiday marking the colonies that became the United States of America declaring their independence from England. The declaration happened in 1776, and so yesterday was the 241st celebration of that event.
On the reservation that day of celebration closed in the same manner as happened in many communities across America, with fireworks. It was our pleasure to gather with some friends at a house close to the fireworks show, where we could watch a first-rate display light up the night sky.
America is a great country. We might all agree that it isn't a perfect country, and we would have many different opinions as to what is wrong with it and how those particular problems could be addressed, but I think that there would be broad agreement that there is no other country in which we would rather live. For all of its flaws, the strengths of this country make it one in which far more people would like to move to, rather than move from. And yet, there is a better country.
In Hebrews 11 the unknown author tells briefly of a number of people who lived lives trusting in God's promises. These people kept their eyes towards the future, knowing that even in times of God's blessing that there was something better, something truly lasting, to come.
Hebrews 11:13-16 says,
"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.
Last night, about a half-hour before going to our friends to watch the fireworks, Kat and I were outside. She looked to the west and saw the setting sun shining through the clouds and said, "Look Dad. God is showing his glory."
The fireworks were a reminder of what America has been through in the past 241 years, and perhaps also hope for the future, but the sun through the clouds points us to something that is so much better. As good as this country is, let us remember that God has prepared a better country, a heavenly one, for all those who live by faith in him.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.