The Birth of Our Nation Reminds Me of The Birth of A Man
July 4, 1776, will always hold significance for my family and me. The courage of those 56 men who pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor inspires me to pursue things that are pure, noble, just, virtuous, praiseworthy, and whatever is true.
It was not always this way for me. I learned that Washington and Jefferson were instrumental as founding fathers in my public education through the late 1980s, but I did not learn about men like Benjamin Rush. Despite one principal contradiction in his life, he was in John Adam’s opinion, one of the most important men in the Union’s effort, a staunch abolitionist, and advocated for an excellent medical system.
I did not learn about Robert Morris, who financed the raid which captured Cornwallis, taking out loans based on his name and business success, yet was never repaid and ended up in debtors prison dying in modesty. He never once complained about his misfortune.
I did not learn about Madison (Father of the Constitution), Webster (first dictionary), or Paine (founding member of Pennsylvania abolitionist society). I did not learn about so many founders who lost everything they worked diligently to build before the Revolution, including their farms, businesses, and even their families. For example, Francis Lewis’ wife was so severely mistreated by the British in her captivity; it led to her premature death. Five were captured by the British and gave their lives!
I cannot escape the wonder of the strength of these men who defied England’s king to forge a new government without traditional conditions and with so many protections for the common man. They birthed a government that derives its powers from the consent of the governed, a government that is by the people, for the people, and of the people. So, where does that leave me?
It leaves me in a place of pondering. Where shall I go from here?
I go back to the beginning. Not the beginning of my life, but the beginning of my Life. Something happened to me on May 9, 1993; Mother’s Day is more significant to me than the Declaration’s signing.
I was serving in the United States Air Force, at RAF Lakenheath, in Suffolk, England. My supervisor, SSgt. Hood asked me an important question, “Hey Rob, do you know Jesus?”
I responded with, “Yes, I know Jesus.”
SSgt. Hood replied, “Well, how is your walk with Him?”
I replied, “Non-existent.”
SSgt Hood said, “Why don’t you come to church with me this Sunday?”
I replied, “Okay.”
Now I said okay, but I had no intention of following up with that, or at the very least, I would meet him at the church, ‘endure’ the service, and say, “thank you, but it’s not for me.” It was all planned out and set in motion. I thought I had enough problems and didn’t need God compounding them.
The following Sunday, I drove to the little rented hall, Brandon Full Gospel Church (now known as the Havest Centre, where I walked the gravel path from the car park to enter the “sanctuary.”
There was wrestling within my spirit as I walked to the front door. Everything within me said, “Turn around and leave, for your life will change today.” I almost yielded to those impulses; nevertheless, I entered the building.
I remember exactly where I sat: center section, four rows back, third seat from the isle.
I made up my mind. I was not going to engage in the “worship.” I had been to a charismatic church in southern California during high school. There was no lasting difference in my life, so I knew the Church to be nothing more than a euphoric event to make you feel bad and compelled to respond the correct way to the message.
I had raised my hands in worship. I had gone to the altar countless times, I had said the sinner’s prayer, yet there was no lasting effect in my heart. So I was determined not to engage in the music. I would endure the service, thank my supervisor, and move on with my life.
There were other plans for me that day.
As the worship songs played on, I found myself singing along with the creative music and talented musicians. The next thing I know is I find myself fully engaged in the music, raising my hands to heaven and signing with all my heart. The emotion of the song overwhelmed me, and I wept profusely. I cried so hard that my eyes swelled with tears, and I began to sob. The sob was deep and guttural, emanating from the core of my soul. My voice was cracking, my hands lifted high, my shoulders heaving, and I was lost.
At that moment, someone reached for me and led me to the altar. I thought it might be an angel leading me there for the appendage appeared angelic.
I made my way to the front of the little rented hall, knelt there, before God, in front of the entire congregation, and wept. The weeping had transformed from deep sobs to silent tears, from a heavy burden to a quiet release. There was freedom in those tears.
I felt a hand on my shoulder, and while kneeling, I looked back to see who it was. The angel who led me to the altar was my supervisor. He came out of his seat and, with compassion, led me to a place of rest. For this extreme act of kindness, I am forever grateful.
And I prayed.
I said, “Lord, I cannot deny what I am experiencing right now. I believe, Jesus, that you are Lord. Here am I.”
My heart transformed that day. The heaviness of my sin, the weight of some decisions I recently made lifted immediately. I was free! “Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart, one believes and is justified, and with the mouth, one confesses and is saved.” Romans 10:9-10 ESV.
These past 27 years have had their ups and downs, yet I am no longer a slave to sin. I have determined to know Christ and make Him known. So I press on.
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 ESV.
This peace is attainable, and the hope of heaven can bring unspeakable joy if you would choose to follow Christ and have your own Independence Day.
I invite you to come.
About the Author
Robert Socha, BIO Robert Socha (so-ha), was born in southern California. He served 5 years 3 months active duty in the United States Air Force; honorably. After his service he took an Associate’s Degree in Practical Theology, where, through his studies, developed a deep love of God and Country and sincere appreciation of the value of Liberty. Robert and his beloved wife of 21-plus years are raising 4 beautiful Texan children. They moved to Hillsdale, Michigan, in 2013, to put their children in Hillsdale Academy. Robert is a sales professional. He and his wife consider Michigan a hidden gem, and absolutely love this city and state (current political environment notwithstanding) they’ve adopted.