Freedom Indeed is NOT Free

Freedom Indeed is NOT Free

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

I came home from church to see the American flag laying on the ground next to the dumpster in the muck. The sight broke my heart and triggered familiar hurt and heartache. After seeing the World Trade Centers go down as a young man in high school, I was determined to everything I can to fight that evil, so I did what many of my peers did and joined the Marine Corps. I knew that was an attack on this nation, its freedoms, the Constitution, and everything I held dearly. I also knew that while you didn’t have to be a Christian to live in this nation, you could be one freely, grow in the faith, and train and send missionaries throughout the world. With that in mind, this shift that we’ve been experiencing has hurt deeply.

Since returning from deployment…

Since returning home from my second deployment to Iraq, it has become increasingly apparent how much we as a nation have squandered the sacrifices made to keep this nation free and it seems to be crumbling from within. A quick look at news headlines, the national deficit, and broken homes throughout the nation reveals a sad story that seems to be unfolding, leaves a fragile hope at best or no hope at worst. Freedom indeed is not free and comes at a great cost. So many have sacrificed so much to keep this nation free and we are squandering it for cheap comforts and a strange new world view promising peace through political correctness – whatever that is.

The troubles of this world…

But so have I. What’s worse is I have squandered God’s grace and His sacrifice. Since becoming a Christian, I’ve done countless foolish things and allowed the troubles of this world to distract me from what God invites me to partake in through repentance and faith. Reframing my perspective from a worldly one to a godly one helps me to cast myself on God’s mercy and have a deeper hope and trust that is not bound by the circumstances of this nation or any kingdom of this world for that matter. I still obviously pray that this nation turns around, and it still makes me sick to my stomach when I see the flag in the muck – whether literally like I just saw a moment ago or figuratively by some public figure who knows little of sacrifice and probably even despises the very Constitution that grants the freedoms we’ve had. But I know God is pulling together a better plan. An eternal one. He is a God that does not change like shifting shadows (James 1:17) and causes all things to work together for my good and His glory (Rom. 8:28). The anchor of my soul is that God’s unchanging character is greater than my weak and wandering heart (Heb. 6:13-20). I know this because Jesus is now the Great High Priest on my behalf and though I am promised that in this world I will face troubles, I can take heart that since He has overcome so will I (John 16:33). I can take comfort that this is not all there is.

God’s story is greater…

The pain from the sins of the world around me and the sins within brought me to a place of utter hopelessness and despair leading me to the VA. It was a pain and darkness like I had never felt before. Without a small faith, barely the size of a mustard seed, that God has a greater story still unfolding, I would have remained in that place of despair or rebelliously and persistently sought the cheap comforts of this world. That faith was and is a gift. He has used those fiery trials to purify, as gold is refined in fire (1 Pet. 1:7). The story of Joseph helps to get a godly perspective on current suffering. Looking back at a long series of trials that seemed no justice or redemption could come of it, he was able to say to his fellow man, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good…” (Gen. 50:20). Far greater than that, is the story of redemption. As Jesus hung on the cross and all hope of humanity seemed lost, through that suffering comes our salvation. So while much of the suffering on this earth may seem nonsensical, from a godly perspective we know that to be untrue. I’m not sure what will happen in the next year, ten years, or thousand years, but I know that while the things I love and hold dear may at many times lay in the muck, God is still good and He will come through in the end.