Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Spark that Breaks the Clouds

Growing up in Panama I didn’t celebrate the 4th of July.  I remember watching firework displays on TV wondering what it would feel like to be present at one of those celebratory events.  I heard about the picnics and the patriotic songs that sing to freedom and liberty.  But I never, in my wildest dreams imagined that one day I would join in the chorus of those who praise this great nation as my own.

The ways of the Lord are often inexplicable, like 1 Corinthians 2: 11 says: For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.

Therefore, He would have it so that I became a citizen in the land of the free and one among those who call the United States their home.  As such, I look forward to the celebrations around Independence Day, which this year began with a beautiful show of music and fireworks.  

After several years doing something else for the 4th, this time we went back to see the fireworks “at the college.”  We arrived with plenty of time and found a place on the “hill.”  There, we enjoyed the patriotic tunes in the background and good conversation among our family.  The kids sat on a small blanket that Grandma had brought “just in case the children want to sit on the ground, instead.”  (Somehow, Grandma always seems to know what the kids would love best.)  The adults sat in folding chairs passing around a tin of pistachios, the only snack we had. (Once again, Grandma was the only one with enough sense to bring something to eat).

It was a lovely reunion and it brought back memories of when the boys were very young and this was the place we used to bring them to experience the 4th of July splendor.  I sat in my slanted chair with my legs stretched out to keep me from rolling over down the hill.  From there, I looked around at the, perhaps thousands of people who came to commemorate such an important day in our history and in the history of the entire world,-the birth of a nation that would defy what was known as the norm and would become a beacon of light and a source for good in this dark world.  

Then, I looked at my sons, growing up healthy and happy.  At that moment I thought how the only reason they are so is because we are here.  Had it not been for that change in the course of my destiny which the Lord orchestrated so many years ago, and through which He landed me here, my boys would not be.

The fireworks started.  The kids stopped playing and sat to watch them quietly and with a sense of awe.  The adults did the same.  A storm seemed to be coming, so each spark of color brightened the cloudy sky.  The cheerful explosions lighted up the faces of those who watched.  The crowd sat in expectation.  Each firework was a surprise.   I saw the faces of my children tinted by the color of the sparks.  I thought about their future and the future of this land.  At that moment, though, all the worry disappeared and united we watched and celebrated another 4th of July.  

The firework display ended and slowly we made it back to the car after we folded our chairs and said our goodbyes. (The only bad thing was that I couldn’t get my elephant ear : )  We drove home and into the dark clouds that forecasted a storm.  Once again I thought how unpredictable the ways of God are for growing up in Panama I never imagined I would, one day, be among those who sing to America as my “home, sweet home.”  I praised God for placing me here in this land where we still have a chance to hang on to our freedom and liberty, for He brought me here to give me life.  

As we drove by a church I saw a message on their board that said, “America, bless God.”  It wasn’t the typical prayer for blessings from God.  It was written as a command.  It was an exhortation to do what we must in order to survive.  

I look ahead and indeed a storm is coming.  Despite the fact that dark clouds surround us, I think of the sign on that church and know that we will be well as long as we continue to bless Him...He is the spark of light that breaks the dark clouds.  He is the One who calms the storm.

Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance. (Psalm 33: 12)

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