This weekend we are celebrating our Independence on July 4th. But few of us even know the names of the men who fought for our Independence outside of the famous Generals like George Washington, and those who actually signed the Declaration of Independence. Many in this nation did not even come here until after the Revolutionary War.
I would like to introduce to you Alexander Smith, Private in the Continental Army of the Revolutionary War, my 6th great-grandfather, on my mother's side of the family. I owe him a debt of gratitude. He not only made it possible in bringing our family to America, but he risked his life to make it possible that my family, as his descendants, would have a better life as free citizens of the United States of America.
It's nice to know that my family played such an important part of our nation's history. The writer in me can't help but wonder about the sacrifices my family must have made during this time as we celebrate the beginning of our nation. Having just returned from a visit to colonial Williamsburg, VA, the time is even more real to me.
I do not have a photo of Alexander Smith, but I do have a photo of his grandson, Reverand Alexander Smith Robbins, who was the brother to my 4th great-grandfather, Nathan Robbins. I have five generations of my Robbins family buried at Ebenezer United Methodist Church Cemetery, dating back before our country was even a nation.
Thank you to our ancestors, and forefathers, who had the courage to stand up, and fight for our freedom. God realizes our sinful nature on earth to take what isn't ours, to commit violence when greed and lust overcome our ability to reason. He knew that there would be times when peaceful people would have to defend themselves against wrong doing and invaders of their peaceful existence.
I believe that is why the Bible says in Ecclesiastes 3 "To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:...A time to love; a time to hate; A time of war, a time of peace."
Notice it says "under heaven". He knew our sinful nature. In this world we have to try and be more like Jesus. That's why the prayer that Jesus gave us in the New Testament says, "Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." If we could live on earth like they do in heaven, we wouldn't have all the problems in the world that we have. But we live here on earth, where many nonbelievers commit bad crimes. As believers we have to recognize this fact.
God will save us out of this world. He will not save us in this world. Because we are not of this world. "And he said to them, `You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.'" (John 8:23)
That is why there are Christian martyers who die for their faith. That is why pain, desease, debt, unhappiness, and sorrow exists. But God has given us His word, hope, faith, joy, and love to combat the evil with His goodness. But His goodness has to be received. When people reject Him, "seeing they do not see, hearing they do not hear" (Matthew 13:13), that's when war breaks out, killing takes place, and when He was crucified.
As long as we live on earth, we will have to endure such things, and we will have to decide what side we will be on. Because we still live here in the flesh, and our children, and our children's children will be affected. And like our ancestors, we will have to make decisions and sacrifices. But for those of us who are believers in Christ, we still have the assurance of our faith, a home that is not of this world.
Thank you God, for our country's independence. Please grant us the wisdom to keep it.