Reflections on the 4th of July

January 1, 1970

This year, I’m celebrating the 4th in a most unusual way. My wife and two kids, Grace, and Dan Jr, are out of town. I have quickly realized what a great woman she is and how much I depend upon her. I realize how lonely it is around here without her. She has enriched my life in so many countless ways. I would not be who I am without her. And I miss the noise and conflicts and love of my kids. 
The 4th of July is a special holiday, because it forces us Americans to sit back and embrace and be grateful for the country God has given us. And let’s remember that it is God who has given us this great nation. We seemed to have forgotten that. 
I’ve travelled overseas to third-world countries. I’ve seen unimaginable poverty, disease, and hopelessness. I’ve seen partially-clothed children crawling the streets, looking for something to eat. I’ve seen entire families living in huts made of dung and leaves and cardboard. 

We Americans are truly blessed. We’re in the top 1% of the world. So what does that mean? 
It means we should stop on the 4th and praise God for our prosperity. We should be deeply grateful for His undeserved blessing. 
It means we should be profoundly appreciative of our military veterans. Everyone says this on the 4th, but we should really mean it. These men and women signed up voluntarily to fight for our protection. We have several veterans in our church. Every time I hear their stories, I am touched deep into my soul. My own brother is a veteran. Thanks Tim, for fighting for our protection. My good friend Robert is still active and has served on many missions. Robert, you’re a hero. My own grandfather was stationed in the Pacific during World War II. He suffered through the Great Depression. He was part of the Greatest Generation that built this country. I loved Grandpa and when he passed in 06, he left a hole in our hearts that still remains. 
It means we should consider why exactly God put us here as Americans. Was it so we could live in self-indulgence and greed? Or is there another reason? Maybe God has given us prosperity so we could affect change in the world? As a Christian, I strongly believe we have been given so much–so that we could give back. I believe God raised up America so thru its prosperity, we could bring the light of the Gospel to those who have never heard. Think of the millions of people who’ve come to know the Savior, because faithful missionaries have been sent from our shores. And today, ministries broadcast the gospel to living rooms in almost every country on the planet. The internet and other technologies are shining the light of the gospel into the world’s darkest corners. Its a heavy responsiblity to be given so much, because to whom much is given, much is required. I hope our generation rises to that challenge.  
Today, I hope we stop and reflect on the good fortune of being born in America. And I hope we think of others who are less fortunate. I hope we thank God for the fighting men and women of this country. 

Happy 4th. 
Dan