I have enjoyed fireworks for as long as I can remember. When I was little, we always used to go down to my cousins’ house to shoot off fireworks on the 4th of July, and it was always one of the highlights of my year, right up there with Christmas.
In addition to getting a kick out of shooting off my own firecrackers and watching those from the rest of the family, I would also go around collecting the remains of already-shot-off fireworks and then spend the next couple of weeks playing with them (I was a weird kid, what can I say?).
As an adult, I don’t get into it all like I used to, but I still shoot some off every year, and I always enjoy trying to get the best bang for my buck by finding fireworks which are pretty but don’t cost too much. This year though, it doesn’t look like I’ll be setting off any fireworks though. Because of a lack of rain this summer in my part of the world, it is so dry that burn bans have been issued which are prohibiting people from setting off personal fireworks.
I was pretty bummed about that for a while, but after further thought, it occurred to me that I could spend the holiday doing a couple of other things which are pretty important:
First, I can be thankful for independence. It’s a novel idea—spending the 4th of July actually reflecting on independence. I mean, the actual name of the holiday is “Independence Day,” but we don’t really spend all that much time thinking about that, as we are so busy with our plans to visit family, head to the lake, and shoot off our miniature explosive devices.
Ours is a country with many serious problems, but it is also a place of unparalleled blessing and opportunity. I am thankful to live in a place with so many freedoms (including the freedom to complain without fear when we feel those freedoms are being limited by Supreme Court decisions!). James 1.17 says that, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights….” Regardless of its faults and the things about our country that we would like the change, we should always be thankful for the material blessings, military protection, and political and religious freedom that we enjoy.
Secondly, I can pray for rain. In addition to being a pain for those who like to shoot off fireworks, the lack of rain is a more severe problem for those who rely on rain for the growing of crops (ultimately, all of us), and in a wider scope, is a huge hindrance for those who are putting their lives on the line in an effort to fight raging forest fires out West.
In James 5.16-18, James says that “…the prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working,” and interestingly enough, he makes that point in the context of discussing someone (Elijah) whose prayers impacted the rain in Israel. Prayer is not an easy button that immediately fixes our problem, but the Bible consistently teaches that, if we need something, we should pray for it.
So without my fireworks, that’s how I’ll be spending at least part of this year’s 4th of July—thanking God for the blessings of our country and asking Him to bless us with rain. Even if miniature explosives are still okay where you live, maybe you should consider doing the same.