My young parents sat on a quilted blanket stretched out over fresh grass as we waited for the heavens and the earth to kiss. I was around five or six, wearing a red striped shirt and shorts.
Blond hair and blue eyes—the American kid of the eighties.
We were at the local baseball field of our small town waiting for the boom with other local families sitting in little patches on the grass.
I remember specifically that we were on part of the incline of the field where it was a little easier to watch the sky.
A star twinkled—two then ten.
And then came the boom.
The dim summer sky lit up in bright showers of color, and my parents looked down to watch my excitement.
I moved down to a prone position as I pretended to be a solider shooting down UFOs out of the sky who were invading our planet. Every time I shot my make-believe gun, an invisible UFO exploded and trickled down in burning pieces.
The sound and the colors paired with my imagination seemed more real than any 8-bit video game of the day.
Around 10 years later, learning a little more about American history and life in general, those fireworks still captured my attention, but I no longer shot down UFOs. Sitting outside, I closed my eyes and just listened to the sound of the boom move the ground beneath me as the bright lights flashed through my eye lids.
I imagined what it would have been like in that historical Revolutionary War knowing that each boom was most likely a life taken. I thought about the other wars too. All those soldiers who listened to the boom in a threatening manner. The ones fighting for what they believed was right. And the ones whose last sound they ever heard was that ominous boom.
I know the Fourth of July is a time to celebrate our freedom, but it’s difficult for me not to meditate for a moment on the people who once fought under those bright lights. Those who gave their all.
America is changing and sadly, those who sacrificed so much are being forgotten, but that doesn’t negate what God has done through this great land. Obviously, there has been some bad since it’s a land full of humans, but the story of us is one about God doing extraordinary things through people who didn’t really have a chance. Then he used those people to help others even though they weren’t perfect.
Does that sound familiar?
America today doesn’t look the same as it did 30 years ago, and it won’t look the same 30 years from now, but it’s still our story, and if we can bless others with our blessings and lead a confused and hurting nation back to the simple message of Jesus, it will have a good ending.
Historically, revival doesn’t begin with preaching but prayer.
Powerful, passionate, and patient prayer by God’s people.
From the Reformation to the First and Second Great Awakening to the Prayer Meeting Revival to the Camp Meetings to the Azusa Street Revival to the Jesus Freak Revival, and now to today, there is hope.
It’s time for this country to come back together, and politics will not accomplish that task, but Jesus can.
In John 17:21 (ESV), Jesus is recorded praying for us—the believers then and the believers now. He said to the father, “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”
We have a mighty responsibility in this country that should flow out to the entire world. In our worship to God, we are to spread his love and light to the lost and confused so that no one is alone and all are apart of the family of God. And through the propitiation of Christ, we can experience true freedom now and forever.
As we sit under those exploding lights of red, white, and blue and feel that boom rumble the ground beneath us, let’s silently pray as passionately as the poets and as bold as the beasts that God’s Holy Spirit will change this land by bringing the souls of this country in allegiance to him.