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Proud of Stars and Stripes (Adam Faughn)

by

Adam Faughn

AdamFaughnI’m concerned for my country. I am very proud to say that I live in the United States of America. I am grateful for virtually countless men and women, including some of my relatives, who have fought for the freedoms my family enjoys daily. When I am at a funeral and “Taps” is played I feel a lump in my throat. And very few things touch my emotions more than seeing a folded flag handed to a (now) widow or widower.

Each time I look up at the flag, I am drawn to the field of blue containing those 50 white, gleaming stars. I am thankful that the stars do not have the names of the states written on them, so each citizen can just “pick out” a favorite star to represent his or her state. Fully one-tenth of those stars represent states that I have called “home” (Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Alabama, and Tennessee). A much larger percentage represents states where, due to the freedoms of our nation, I have been allowed to visit, vacation, speak, or just pass through. I have set my feet down in states from Florida to Washington and Michigan to Mississippi.

But our nation’s drift away from the principles of God has me concerned. It does not matter which political party –if any–you prefer; if you are a Christian, the movement away from Biblical morality must concern you. Not only are sinful practices being both allowed and even celebrated, but we are also removing ourselves from basic God-given wisdom. (”The borrower is slave to the lender,” anyone?)

Many men and women have fought and died to give us the freedoms we enjoy. Our Founding Fathers tried to instill in their speeches and writings that the principles of Scripture needed to guide our nation. For their troubles, many of them were harmed in terrible ways. Others have tried to ensure that parts of our society, such as women and African-Americans, would be truly part of the “one nation,” but also that the one nation would be “under God.” Many of those leaders also were defamed, and some even bore stripes for their work.

America’s history is not perfect. None of us should be proud of everything our nation has done, no matter how much we love our country. That said, I still am grateful for the overall history of our nation, and I think with great fondness of those who tried to instill a religious foundation, one that served us well for several generations.

I do not know what the future holds for our nation. I do know that God will not continue to bless a nation that turns from Him. Even a cursory reading of both Biblical history (the Old Testament) and secular history proves this to be true. Nations that do not follow God may continue to exist, but they are not blessed by His hand. Nations that seek the Lord find blessing. In many ways, that is the story of world history.

Some look at the Stars and Stripes waving in the sky and do not feel any emotion. I do. I am thankful for the flag and for what each color and pattern represents. To quote Lee Greenwood, “I’m proud to be an American.” I am proud of the Stars and Stripes.

However, the waving Red, White, and Blue is secondary. As much as I love my nation, and as much concern as I have for her, there is something far more important to me.

You see, I have a stronger connection to some other stars and stripes.

They are the “stars in my crown” and the stripes that brought the blood of my Lord.

If Christ delays His return, America will either cease to exist or it will not be in the future what it has been in the past. Maybe states will secede. Maybe our nation will go bankrupt. Maybe things will return more toward God. Maybe we will fall to a foreign nation.

I have no idea, but I do know the future will not be exactly what the past has been.

But I do know this: whatever direction this nation moves, it is not going to change the stripes that were put on the flesh of my Lord. Those stripes heal me of my worst problem (Isaiah 53:5), and that cannot change. He bore them in the greatest act of sacrifice imaginable, and did so in my stead. Nothing I could do deserved that gift, just as He did nothing to deserve the pain. When I consider His stripes, my heart swells with gratitude and love, for they are stripes that provide eternal hope and healing.

And I know that, no matter how this nation moves, I must seek more stars for my crown. Will I stand by and just wring my hands at the downward spiral of our nation, or will I be telling people about the perfect land where all is peace and joy? That place, my true homeland, is where I want every person to be. For others to go there, however, I must be telling them about it. I do not know how many will make that celestial journey with me, but I pray that someone in that heavenly city will look at me and say, “You are one reason why I am here.” Whether that person is my wife, my children, a neighbor, or someone I don’t even know, that will make every effort worth it.

So I must come to the place where I am thankful for my country and her flag, but where another banner–one stained with divine blood–is the ensign of my true homeland. How much I have lived holding high the banner of the cross will define my life far more than how much time I spent concerned for the banner of a nation.

Thank you Jesus, for your stripes which heal. Give me the strength to tell others who need to hear, so that there will be “many stars in my crown.”

 

Adam Faughn preaches for the Lebanon Road Church of Christ in Nashville, TN

 




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Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

2 corinthians 1:3-4