For U.S. citizens, July Fourth is a favorite holiday. For me, and other veterans who have been overseas, it has special significance.
It is a time to gather as families and friends and celebrate the freedoms we enjoy and to remember the sacrifices of men and women, both in and out of uniform, who won our freedoms and continue to protect them.
Many of us will watch dazzling displays of fireworks, which are synonymous with Independence Day, and stand and sing the first verse of the national anthem. Did you know there are four verses to the national anthem? Most of us know the first verse, but I would like to focus on the fourth verse.
Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
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Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
This recognizes God’s hand in preserving our nation and our reliance on him for victory and peace.
Certainly our Founding Fathers believed in God and sought his guidance in establishing our nation. The Declaration of Independence affirmed that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.
“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”
Haven’t we also witnessed God’s hand in our own lives? Do you recall when you prayed earnestly for a blessing and you received it?
Perhaps a loved one was spared from a life-threatening illness or you were able to find a job or you found comfort and peace during a particularly difficult time in your life.
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
God lives and knows each one of us personally. He loves us and wants us to be happy and successful. If we follow him and show our trust in him, we will be happy.
As we celebrate our Independence Day, let us also recognize God’s hand in our own lives and renew our trust in him.