Having had the opportunity to travel around the world, let me say America is the greatest country on earth.
We are far from perfect. We have our many flaws. But we have so much to be thankful for as a nation.
Imagine what kind of world we would live in today if there had been no America: No one to turn back the rise of the Nazis in World War II. No one to stand up against the tyranny of communism and socialism. No one to stand up for our ally Israel and other nations that need our help.
Why has America been able to do all those things? Because we have a foundation that has taught us what right and wrong are, that every individual life has inherent value and dignity and that there is a God who can and wants to bless us if we follow him.
We learn these things from the most influential book in our country’s history: the Bible.
Thomas Jefferson once said about the Bible, “I have always said, and always will say, that the studious perusal of the sacred volume will make better citizens.” Of Holy Scripture, Andrew Jackson said it is “the Rock on which our republic rests.” Abraham Lincoln stated, “All the good Savior gave to the world was communicated through this Book. But for this Book we could not know right from wrong. All the things most desirable for man’s welfare, here and hereafter, are to be found in it.”
Independence Day is this week. As you know, our founding fathers framed a document that we call the Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. That they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.
We often forget that in declaring independence from an earthly power, our forefathers made a direct declaration of dependence upon God Almighty. The closing words of this document declare, “With a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”
But 243 years later, it seems we no longer rely on God the way our founders did.
We have thrown God out of the classroom. We have thrown him out of the courtroom, a judicial system built on biblical truth. And we have done our best to throw him out of modern culture.
And when people forget God, they forget the One who blesses them in times of abundance and guides them in times of hardship. Abraham Lincoln recognized this many years ago when our nation was embroiled in a bloody civil war, saying:
We have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious Hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!
Today, though our Union is at peace, we face a situation not unlike the one Lincoln was facing then.
In spite of being the most prosperous and powerful nation on earth, we have “trouble in paradise.” Americans are more depressed and unhappy now than ever before. One in five Americans — over 60 million — will battle major depression in their lifetime.
Roughly every 11 minutes, someone in America commits suicide. According to statistics — and these are conservative estimates — 1.4 million people attempt suicide every year. In fact, there are more suicides than homicides.
I mention depression and suicide because they reflect the internal state of our nation, and they tell us the answer for America’s problems is not a political one. It is spiritual. We need to turn back to God.
This August, I will be hosting an evangelistic crusade in Southern California — for the 30th year in a row.
While some people may think of a crusade as a relic of a bygone era, let me tell you, tens of thousands of people still show up for it every year. They do because they are searching for hope and meaning in this chaotic world we live in, and the gospel offers answers to their deepest questions. The gospel has always been, and will always be, the greatest hope for humanity.
As America celebrates July 4, I pray we remember our need for God. We need to turn back to the True and only God — the same God our founding fathers invoked when they established this nation.
Greg Laurie is an evangelist, pastor and founder of the Harvest churches in California and Hawaii and Harvest Crusades. He is a bestselling author of several books, including “Jesus Revolution: How God Transformed an Unlikely Generation and How He Can Do It Again Today” and “Steve McQueen: The Salvation of an American Icon.” His new book “Johnny Cash: The Redemption of an American Icon” releases in August.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.