As I was watching the fireworks tonight in my town, I turned from the explosions and looked at all the faces. There were so many different faces. Teenagers secretly recording but trying to act like they weren’t impressed. Families encircled by giggling toddlers. Children sitting transfixed with grandparents, staring at the sky. Different skin colors. Different ethnic backgrounds. All enjoying the privilege of being here in this moment.
I have to be honest, I’m tired of hearing the word “privilege.” People talk so much lately about some people having privilege and others being victims. But tonight I was thinking about all of us in this country watching fireworks.
We are all privileged.
Whether you watched fireworks on Juneteenth or July 4th or you celebrated more in January in China Town…if you live in this country YOU are PRIVILEGED.
Whether you were born here, moved here or hate it here, you are privileged.
People before us, for more than 200 years, have given their blood, sweat, and tears to make this country better for you. Did they make mistakes? Yes. Did they have different values? Yes. But do we live better, easier, freer, and more luxurious lives than anywhere else in this world? Yes!
The United States of America is not perfect. I’m not perfect. You’re not perfect. But we are so blessed in this country. All of us are blessed. And our grandchildren will probably not have the freedoms we do. This peace will not last forever, and the First Amendment is being weakened every day.
It is up to each of us to focus our eyes on God and the blessings He has given us rather than on the problems. Complaining will lead you to more discontent. Thankfulness leads to peace and joy.
We have SO much to be thankful for. Focus on your blessings.
When I was in school as a kid all I could focus on was getting stickers on my chart or earning the coveted trip to the Treasure Box for another dollar store toy. I wanted to earn the favor of my teachers so bad! Come to think of it, I guess I continued this behavior all the way through college—but instead of stickers and slinkys, it was A’s and honor societies.
I always needed approval. I guess I thought I had to earn love or to prove my worth to others. That’s why I had such a hard time accepting God’s free gift of grace.
But I couldn’t do anything to earn God’s grace. His standard is too high. He says every person sins and we all fall short of his requirement of perfect holiness (Romans 3:23). In the book of Matthew Jesus said that even thinking about something bad is just as bad as doing it (Matthew 5). I remember my roommate in college once said,
“I just realized that all I deserve is hell. None of us deserve Heaven.”
She was right. I don’t deserve to be forgiven and I can’t be accepted by God based on my good deeds. That’s why Jesus steps in. His sacrifice made me able to finally be “good enough.” In Isaiah chapter 61, verse 10, it says,
“I delight greatly in the Lord…for he has clothed me in garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness…as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”
Jesus is the only one who makes me good enough! He puts the righteousness on me. He makes me beautiful. He makes me acceptable to his Father.
I’m so thankful that I don’t have to fill up a chart to be good enough. And I’m so glad we believers in Christ won’t get what we really deserve! Thank you, Lord!
So I started driving for Uber on the weekends just to bring in some extra cash. I was a little nervous, being a woman. I didn’t know if it would be safe.
People told me, “Just deliver food.” But I didn’t want to; I wanted to carry people. I thought I’d just try it out.
I’m glad I did.
I have learned a lot. I’ve learned that this country is not as divided as they say. People are still people. Political parties and “Institutional” divisions have not destroyed Americans.
You see, the critics want us to focus on the “them.” They want us to see divisions in our heads. To expect to be treated badly. To see “that group” as our enemies. They want us always seeing differences between us and other groups.
But when people get into my car they are not a group, a race, a political party. They are an individual. A unique human being, created by God. Beautiful in their uniqueness. Not just one in a crowd. Not just a member of an ethnic group or a skin color.
None of that matters in my car.
We see each other as people. We talk like friends. My riders and I laugh and share stories and act like what we are: people made in the image of God, brought together for a short car trip but connecting as human beings.
I wish we could all see each other that way every day. Free of tensions and stereotypes and fears. I pray daily for God to help me see each person I encounter through His eyes. He’s working on me and answering that prayer.
So, next time you ride Uber, especially if it’s my car, take the time to enjoy the miracle of a person driving or sitting beside you or in the cars around you. We are all worth getting to know.
I’m blessed to live in a country with a document that says I have the right to state my opinion, even if it’s unpopular. I’m thankful for my country; however, things are changing. More and more Americans do not feel safe voicing their opinions.
I’m thankful to live in a country where I can participate and live out my beliefs without fear. However, that is starting to change as well. For all of the Bible’s talk of love, some people publicly accuse Christians of hate simply because we have differing beliefs on certain things.
I’m grateful to live in a country with a free market, where I can start my own business or give people rides in my car to bring in extra income. But, yes, that too is changing. Many of the most powerful activists and leaders in Washington DC promote Marxism—an economic system where “equal”citizens equally own nothing and live as pawns in the hands of a rich group of rulers.
Even though, I’m blessed and thankful to live in America. God has put me here, right now, for a reason. He has a plan for each one of us. He does not make mistakes, and He is working all things out for our good (Romans 8:28). Just as God used Queen Esther to speak the truth in a dangerous time, He has called me to speak truth in “such a time as this” (Esther 4:14).
Let us live boldly and trust in the One who allowed us to be here at this very time in history, and who has a plan for each of our lives (Jeremiah 29:11). Let’s pray that America will prosper and be a land of freedom for all. But, let’s be faithful in trusting the Lord in what He allows and where He has placed us—even if things get worse.
“From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.” Acts 17:26
Trust God. Speak truth. Love others. God bless America!