Updated: Sep 11, 2018
The morning of July 4, Americans across the country celebrating Independence Day. Many will be attending events such as parades, barbeques, street fairs, and of course fireworks. We are celebrating independence from British rule, so courageously won in the Revolutionary War. We are celebrating independence from taxation without representation as demonstrated by the Boston Tea Party. We are celebrating the independence to elect our own leaders and establish our own laws. We are celebrating the birth of our own country, the United States of America, land of the free and home of the brave.
I, too, celebrate the ideals represented in the founding of our nation - independence, freedom, unity, self-rule. Yet I question how these ideals play out in the day-to-day reality of life. Are we really free or are we caught up in addictions, held in bondage by technology, stress, drugs, inflation, pornography,gambling, or just the demands of our fast-paced lifestyle? Do we really have unity or is our country more divided than it has been in at least the last 50 years? Is self-rule actually working that well or do our myriad of laws and regulations actually serve to impede our progress and growth? Are we truly independent or has our school system filtered out independent thought, replacing it with political correctness and group think?
As my wife and I sat in our back yard this morning we confessed to each other that we have strayed off course, becoming too independent, too self-reliant, and as a result too divided. Independence is a worthy ideal, but it is also the first cousin of self-reliance, and ultimately isolation. We acknowledged that we need to return to dependence, on each other and on God. I don't mean "codependence," that term that has come to be seen as a four-letter word. I do mean interdependence, that quality between us that compliments one's strengths and the other's weaknesses, one's needs and the other's need to serve, one's lack and the other's abundance.
Even God, who is all-powerful, seems to have chosen to act in response to our prayers and to bless in response to our needs. Though He requires nothing, He longs to have relationship with us. Though He is always near, we enter His gates with thanksgiving, His courts with praise. This morning my wife and I determined to embrace not our independence, but rather our dependence on a loving God. After all, it was Him who set us free.