In Appreciation For Our “Day of Deliverance”

4th of July 2014

“The second day of July, 1776 will be the most memorable [day] in the history of America,” John Adams wrote his wife, Abigail, on July 3 of that year – the day after the Second Continental Congress finally voted “yes” to declaring the 13 colonies independent from Great Britain.

“It will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival,” he predicted. “It ought to be commemorated as the Day of Deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty … to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other from this time forward forever more.”

He was mostly right … though, sad to say, Americans through the years have been increasingly less inclined to incorporate “solemn acts of devotion to God,” into their holiday celebrations. Only Adams’ timing was off. It was July 4 – the day the actual Declaration document was ratified – that future generations opted to honor with their national celebrations.

But then, most people – Americans included – are a little slow to recognize the real significance of freedom.  By the grace of God and the extraordinary efforts of men like Adams, freedom has so long been our birthright that we tend to take for granted that it always will be. Adams knew better the hard facts and real cost of liberty – yet, like Abraham Lincoln nearly a century later, his clear eyes saw and believed in his nation’s “vast future.”

“You will think me transported with enthusiasm but I am not,” he wrote Abigail. “I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure that it will cost us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the gloom, I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is more than worth all the means. And that posterity will triumph in that day’s transaction, even [if] we should rue it, which I trust in God we shall not.”

This week, it is easier than usual for some of us to feel that “the end is more than worth the means.” We have been given a great gift by our nation’s Supreme Court – an affirmation of religious liberty that confirms not only our right to practice our faith in every facet of our lives, but our commitment to preserving the sanctity of life. It was a great and crucial legal victory (for all the political fallout it has brought and will bring), and we are so blessed that God has moved in this clear and wonderful way.

Yes, we are slow to recognize the importance, and vulnerability, of our freedom … and often painfully slow to recognize the legal and political and cultural agendas that threaten it. But time and again, throughout our nation’s history, our merciful God has given us eyes to see – and perhaps, this week, for the first time in a long time, many are recognizing how very precious and endangered religious freedom really is. And that defending it truly is “worth all the means.”

July 2 is not the only aspect of independence that Americans have largely forgotten. Adams himself is not nearly so well remembered or widely honored as men like Thomas Jefferson, who wrote about freedom so eloquently, or George Washington, who fought for it so ably and courageously. Unlike them, no monument in our capital is dedicated to his memory.

Yet it was Adams who recognized the leadership qualities of Washington, and pressed the rest of the Congress to appoint him Commander in Chief. It was Adams who chose Jefferson to write the Declaration. And it was Adams who was widely recognized by his fellow Congressmen as the “Colossus of Independence” – the heart and soul and human fire that ignited his reluctant fellow leaders to take the extraordinary, unprecedented step of embracing their freedom from England.

This week, as we celebrate the great “Day of Deliverance” … as we give thanks for a vital ruling from our nation’s highest court … as we renew our recognition of the cost, the fragility, and the enduring hope of freedom … we at Alliance Defending Freedom express our heartfelt thanks to you, and your family, and to the many thousands like you across America who continue to invest so much of yourselves, your prayers, and your treasure in our work to defend religious liberty.

As we fight for freedom, families, and life in the courtrooms of our country, and write and speak our shared convictions in the courtroom of public opinion, we are ever mindful of those whose own commitment to God and our nation are making our best work possible.

May our great and good Lord bless our efforts together for His glory, and may He bless, guide, deliver, and preserve these United States of America.

Author: Alan Sears