By Joyce Reba Payne
June 13, 2017
Most everyone across the nation of America has discovered by now that the founders of this nation were flawed individuals. We have had a chance to look at their ideas compared to their lives and have found they did not always practice what they preached. Some founding fathers debated the morality issue of slavery and yet continued their slave plantations. One of them, Thomas Jefferson, had conflicting opinions of slavery even though he owned slave plantations, worked on ways to free the slaves and had a second family with his black mistress, whom many believed he loved. There is so much controversy and conflict with the ideas of the nation when we examine American history. The nation has been great in comparison to other nations in many ways but it has not been perfect.
There is one thing we can say about the founding fathers even though they were not perfect or perfect examples for their descendants and that is they esteemed the perfect example of a perfect God whom they honored in the nation’s founding documents. Nor can we, as individuals, claim perfection but there is something so right about our hearts when we strive toward perfect ways. That is the quality that propelled this nation above so many others.
The founding fathers had seen nations with great governing authority, great military prowess as well as great minds and wealth on display. But what they sought for in America was a nation that could be great and yet just toward its people. They had never seen that before but they sought it!
The founders did not borrow ideas of greatness from the philosophy of Socrates, the political strategies of Napoleon, the military expertise of Alexander the Great or the ruling example of previous European Kings. They did not set out to put royalty over each state. Nor did they organize exploitive campaigns to attack the wealth of other nations to be divided among their elites or poor settlers. No, what they did do was look at a great God who had outlined ways that every man, woman and child could be provided for and come to greatness in God’s eyes. They chose to use the book God provided as their guide to establish their laws that could be later examined and expanded by descendants to lead the nation into what God had in mind. They did not complete the work; they only started the process and others would have an opportunity to develop the nation into the full plan of God using the model they set forth.
Where the nation of America went astray was by taking its eyes off both the model and God; and they began to establish their own plan and set up their own gods of wealth, pleasure, lust, physical perfection and mental superiority. Previously Americans sought her leadership in men who possessed integrity, humility, wisdom and a servant attitude; but now America seeks leadership from those that have fame, worldly success, wealth and arrogance. The great men of the bible like Abraham (the father of God’s chosen people), King David (a man after God’s own heart), Elijah (the prophet God took bodily to heaven in a fiery chariot) or Daniel (to whom God revealed His plan for future nations) were great men because they kept their eyes on God and followed His instructions. Men of America’s past like the first general and president of the nation, George Washington, were esteemed as great because they honored and sought out the mind of God. These men were smart enough to know that greatness came from their God and not their own fleshly mind or ability.
The founders of America referenced where they put their trust (in God) and seemingly expressed naivety in believing that their descendants would have the same wisdom to follow their guide rather than squander their heritage on greed and lust.
The Declaration of Independence and the U. S. Constitution were only outlines of the principles, ideas and intent that the founders set up as a foundation for the nation. It was not and could never have been the whole plan for a developing nation that would represent life and freedom for a multitude of diverse people that no one had ever seen modeled. Only the bible itself and God, which they referenced, could walk us through the future steps to bring about the great freedoms the founders envisioned in the founding documents.
Every journey has a beginning, mid way point and an end. The intent to strive for the goal is expressed at the beginning and the destination is predetermined. Every runner in a race reaches a point in the race where it seems he cannot go any further, that his legs will buckle under him or that his lungs will explode under the pressure; but he continues to run because he made a decision at the beginning to reach the goal and that it was worth the toil of the race. He could give up in the middle of the race and announce to everyone that he had the honor of running in the great race for the goal, but no one would applaud or celebrate with him for failing to reach his destination. Even he would eventually feel the disappointment of not fulfilling his promise to himself of reaching the goal and obtaining the prize. There is no glory in going half way and stopping. The joy of the race comes from focusing on the goal and completing the course. God wants us to have the joy of finishing the race because there are other races yet to be run and prizes to be obtained. The struggle is not a sign we should give up, but it is just a sign that we must press beyond the present opposition to obtain our worthy goal.
America is not at the end; it is in the middle struggling with the decision of whether or not it will continue to run its race to reach the goal of liberty for all or turn back and be a copy of old European ways. Europe and other nations looked to us as a light to imitate and follow, not as one who would join them in the mire. In the middle is the time when runners must remember the enthusiasm they had at the beginning and envision the joy of obtaining the prize. The prize is still there and it is still worth obtaining, but we must keep up the enthusiasm and the effort. We must also envision in the audience those who ran before us and how they endangered and offered up their very lives for the vision of something we experience but they never had a chance to see in operation anywhere. They dared believe it was possible for men to live with freedom of worship, ideas and speech in harmony with others. There are still other races and goals to be obtained beyond this race of liberty. Life is a journey and only God know the ultimate and final destination.
America needs to have today men, women and children that will catch the vision the founders had and continue the journey to its conclusion. We must look again at their inspired words, purpose and the God they trusted to help them achieve their destination. Veering off the path leads to the confusion, weariness, disappointment and turmoil that we are seeing expressed in our society today. It is clear to most people that we have gotten off the path and few, if any, seem to know the way to get back on track. There is no leader who can get America out of the confusion it is in without renewing past covenants and following Divine direction. Modern men tend to believe they are more advanced than the people of the past but the foundation which America has stood on for over 200 years was built by those very men we discount from the past. There are mysteries that our ancestors understood that modern man is still wrestling to decipher. The same God that steered the first settlers over troubled waters is still available to help every citizen of America run the race for the home, city, state, organization or party that is so important to the larger race America’s must run to obtain the goal of true liberty for all. Run the race, America! Happy Anniversary!
Happy 4th of July