Idaho Falls is about to double its population this Saturday with the Melaleucha Freedom Celebration. The fun run, parade, picnics, and fireworks in the city make July 4 a spectacular day in the river city. My oldest daughter proclaims July 4 as one of her favorite holidays.
In light of the patriotic festivity, I want to take a moment to express three reasons why I say – “Bury my heart in America!”
A debt for what I have received
I am thankful for those Americans who pioneered, sacrificed, and suffered deeply so that I might experience religious liberty. I don’t take this for granted. I have the joyful opportunity to carry a Bible everywhere. In Idaho Falls, I take the opportunity to read my Bible in the library, coffee shops, city parks, and restaurants. I share Bible verses. I give out Bibles. I could not do this freely when I was in Turkey and Kazakhstan. The United States of America printed and gave me my first Bible. No matter how this country might treat me in the future as a Christian, I will throughout my life be in debt to my Christian upbringing in Idaho. How could I leave the country that I owe so much?
A joy in my surroundings
I have lived in the United States for 45 years, and I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface in exploring and seeing everything in all 50 states. Just in my neck of the woods, I have not come close to camping or hiking all the grandeur in the beautiful region surrounding my town and eastward into the national parks of Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons.
A desire to share hope
Some say that America is a difficult mission field. We hear word descriptions like “post-Christian”, “secular”, and “immoral”. All around us there are people who are sad, mad, or bad. God hasn’t called me to be with people who have it all together. He wants my life to be immersed in the lives of those who need to hear the good news. I cannot and I will not abandon those who are hurting all around me. I am the spiritual beggar who has been placed undeserving at God’s banquet table. I am compelled to share this hope with others.
Happy July 4th weekend to you all!