Today, God, I am grateful for this country—the United States of America. This is where you sovereignly put me on the map. I have seen other places, like Europe with its rolling hills dotted with sheep and cathedrals spiraling toward the heavenlies and Haiti with its undescribable poverty and squalor. I could have been born in either. In Europe, I might have been one of the secularized cultural elite. In Haiti, I could have been raised in a tent city sloshing through waste mixed with mud as I walked barefoot to school. But here I am, by your plan.
Thank you that I own property, I travel freely between states. I can visit oceans and mountains, plains and deserts all in the borders of this expansive land. I vote for the government officials who represent me (though sometimes disappointingly). I worship freely without fear of persecution. I educate my children at my kitchen table and it’s legal. People born other places can choose to come to this country and live. They are my neighbors. We are each enriched as we learn from each other and respect each other’s cultural heritage.
God, I am grateful for the courageous people who sacrificed everything for their convictions. They travelled by boat to this place, suffered from exposure, malnutrition, and disease in order to lay a foundation for the freedoms I enjoy today. They were flawed people just like I am—all of us with our own messy stories. We all bear the ugly marks of sin with all of its scarring consequences and we feel the effects personally and as a nation. Thank you that your character is compassionate toward us, that you withhold your righteous judgment because you are slow to anger and abounding in love. Thank you that you are faithful all the way to our children’s children.
I am grateful that in this brief life you’ve gifted me with, that I am a US citizen. And I anticipate the day when my passport will be stamped heaven and I will transfer my citizenship to your eternal kingdom.