July 4th weekend has always offered a few guarantees in life. There will be fireworks starting at 4:00 in the afternoon until well after I want to be in bed. The neighborhood dogs will hate this even more than I do. The kids will have a water gun fight and eat their weight in watermelon (I’ll help with both). At some point in the late afternoon, despite the heat and humidity, I will throw some hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill, stand there sweating through my already-wet clothes and marvel at my good fortune to be American.
This year there was something besides meat crowding the grill. Vegetables. Lots of them. Partially because grilled vegetables are delicious. But mostly because this COVID-era weight gain isn’t going away as fast as the mask mandates did.
I do pray that God blesses America – but not out of any sense of entitlement. God is not American – but He does love every American. God is God! He is bigger and better than we know. America has a long, complicated relationship with Jesus. He is also the God of every nation and tongue in all of Creation. Rejoice! The same God that loves you and me, loves our brothers and sisters in Africa, Asia and even France. (I don’t know why I’m picking on the French, they just seemed like an easy target.)
There are a lot of heavy and divisive topics we are wrestling with in America right now – and many of those conversations are important and good. But I want to remind you, me – all of us – that Jesus declared that the burdens He offers are supposed to be light (Matthew 11:30). Which leaves me thinking that a lot of the burdens we carry around with us are not really from Him.
Are you carrying around some burdens, anger and hurt that you need to let go of? I am. For sure! I’m working on it though. Surrender is really hard.
Especially for an American.
*The French could teach us a thing or two about quickly surrendering… am I right? (I’m just kidding!)