Along with millions of other Americans my husband and I enjoyed a lovely July 4th weekend this year. There’s nothing like a three-day weekend to revitalize weary body and soul. And there’s nothing like the reason for that three-day weekend…235 years of the great experiment called, The United States of America! Only God knows how this experiment will end.
My imagination takes me back to the years preceding the drafting of our constitution. Did those living during that time have any idea just how big their leap of faith was? Surely those intimately involved and leading, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and others, must have had amazing faith and determination otherwise they wouldn’t have laid all they have on that proverbial line drawn across the sand. But, what about the everyday folk. We don’t hear much about their individual stories, but they too must have had remarkable courage and faith to follow men like Washington to world unknown.
It could’ve gone horribly wrong. They and their families could’ve lost everything, even their lives. And many of them did lose a great deal, even life. But, what they gained is something no other nation has been able to sustain this long…Freedom! How terribly sad that most of the time we take this freedom for granted and rarely think about it. We just live it, day in and day out. No thought to its cost. No sense of gratitude. No consideration of what our daily lives would be like without freedom. Its this attitude of ingratitude that may give the final push of our nation over the slippery edge into the abyss of cheap imitations.
The idea of cheap imitations hit home to me in several unusual ways this past July 4th as hubby and I enjoyed the festivities offered in downtown St. Louis. We had tickets to the Cardinals vs. Reds game and decided to go early for easier parking and catch the airshow on the river. Many thousands were already there when we arrived, but we found a parking spot very close to the ballpark and hoped we would still be able to see some of the fireworks over the Arch after the game from our car for ease of escape!
The airshow was quite entertaining. I know nothing about plans, so I can’t tell you what kind of plane did what. I can relay that there were stunt planes doing loops and figure eights’, all of which made me dizzy just thinking about being in a plane upside down. There was a marine fighter there that was very loud and impressively fast, a Harrier, I think. And then there was another military plane that could have its props set like a regular plane or more like a helicopter. We were behind the massive speakers when that plane do its fly overs, so I have no idea what it was, but it was very cool.
There was a congenial man giving commentary through the entire show and when we could hear, standing in front of the speakers, it was interesting to hear his explanation of each plane; who flew it, how many flying hours they had, how fast the plane was, how agile, and how expensive it was. He did a good job of patting mankind on the back for all we have accomplished in the world of flight.
In the middle of all these daredevil stunts, I noticed two small, but amazing creatures. One was a giant, and I mean giant, dragonfly. It zipped right past my ear, across the gray head of the man in front of me, then did a nose dive down through some hairy legs and then zigzagged its way up and out of my site toward the open ground under the Arch. Within just moments of the dragonfly visit a second little guy or it could’ve been a gal, I’m no Ornithologist, (I had to look that up) was a a small black bird flying loops and figure eights among the trees with an ease and grace man can only dream of.
And it dawned on me. Here is man all puffed up, proud and maybe even arrogant that he can fly. Well, he can’t, but he can build a machine that can if he has alot of money and resources and a factory and hours and hours of lessons…you get the picture. As wonderful as our flying machines are, in reality, they really are just cheap imitations of the Creator’s amazing designs; thousands of them in a myriad of shapes and colors. Birds, bats, insects, even flying squirrels can outshine man in the air anytime, anyplace.
Another comparison God showed me that day came during the game. It was a beautiful day for baseball. It had to be because I came prepared for rain; slickers, umbrellas, change of clothes in the car. In my defense, it had rained that morning and it did look threatening to our east. But, over the stadium and downtown it was clear blue skies. Illinois must have gotten some rain though because half-way through the game God blessed the fans with not one, but two beautiful rainbows on the east side of the mighty Mississippi. First one, then another, then another fan pointed to the sky and then nudged their neighbors, “Look it’s a rainbow! Oh, there’s two!”
II Timothy 3:5a says, “holding to a form of godliness, although they deny its power…”
Next time I have even the tiniest thought of accepting something that is not God, I’m going to remember the cheap imitations that threaten to rob me of the real thing…eternal life…eternal freedom with Jesus the Christ!