I don’t mean to, but it’s just not something I think about very often.
Freedom is so much a part of our lives here in the States that we don’t seem to be impressed with it anymore . . . at least I don’t.
I’m so grateful for the freedom we have, but–truth be told–I preach each week without the fear of being arrested, I share my faith with people without the fear of being turned in to the local authorities, and I pray with my family over our lunch at Ci Ci’s pizza and never once think that our public display of faith might get us into trouble because I’m blessed to live in a free country.
Ever since Friday night I’ve been overwhelmed with the wonder of freedom, but not because Friday was Independence Day, but because of a prayer my son Sylas offered.
We spent the 4th of July in Rocky Mountain National park with some of our friends from Florida. It was an amazing day.
We hiked to Alberta Falls and ate lunch on a rock face at 9,000 feet overlooking a roaring waterfall that thrust countless gallons of whitewater over a cliff and into the gulping mouth of the lush green valley below.
We drove the scenic Trail Ridge Road that climbs to over 12,000 feet–stopping along the way to marvel at the view from such a lofty height.
We had a snowball fight in a patch of forest just off the side of the road.
What a great day.
The joy of the day was overwhelming, but as the daylight began to fade we made our way to Estes Park.
Just before dark we arrived at the historic Stanley Hotel in Estes Park and found a nice spot on the front lawn of the hotel to watch fireworks over the lake nestled in the valley just below our vantage point.
If you ever get the chance to see fireworks in the Rocky mountains you’ll never forget it.
The dark night sky–so full of stars–was an amazing canvas on which the fireworks painted indescribable pictures of light and wonder.
The stillness of the mountains made it possible to hear the “oohs,” “aahs,” and joyous expressions from people all across the valley.
And I’ll never forget the sound the firework explosions made as they rolled past us–bouncing off each mountain as they disappeared into the dark valley behind us.
It was an overwhelming experience for me, but it was also an overwhelming experience for my 5-yr-old son Sylas.
As soon as the show was over Sylas came to me and quietly asked, “Daddy, can we pray?”
“Of course,” I said as I quickly dropped my folding chair and picked him up–placing our foreheads together.
“Dear God,” Sylas prayed, “Help America to be thankful for this party. Amen.”
May it be.
May we always be grateful for our independence.
May we never take our freedom for granted.
And may we always work to make sure that everyone has the chance to experience the overwhelming freedom that can only be found in Christ.