Today is Memorial Day. The calendar calls us to remember those who ignored fear to serve in the military to preserve our freedoms. Today it feels more real medically instead of militarily. We have two close family friends whose children volunteered to work in the Covid units in their cities. We prayed for them and many others. They have survived and are well. Parents are relieved.
Like all wars there are those who go to do battle and those who stay home, pray earnestly and wait in the uncertainty of no answers, no news, no end.
Why is freedom precious? Because the cost is incalculably high to families.
My paternal grandmother watched her two sons, her only children, both volunteer to fight in World War II. And then her husband joined too. All three men donned handsome new uniforms, posed proudly for photos on their little front porch, and then shipped off to different assignments, in different branches of the military, eventually landing on three different continents. She waited home … alone. Miraculously, sovereignly, all three came home.
My maternal grandmother ached as her only son, her first born, also marched into the war. A writer, she wrote a poem about the empty swing which once held its happy boy in hours of imaginary play. This 18-year-old also proudly stood on the porch of the farmhouse for photos. He, however, did not return home. His plane was shot down over Germany and never found, though all his crewmates returned to the U.S. This, too, was in God’s sovereign rule.
Why is freedom precious? Because it is fragile.
No one today knows what the future holds with or without the war on the coronavirus. Even if a vaccine were available tomorrow the consequences would still last for years potentially. James 4:14 tells us, “We do not know what tomorrow will bring.” Plans for a recovered economy are just that. Plans. Only God knows the outcome.
A resurgence like it is said America experienced in the roaring 20’s after the pandemic of 1918 sounds hopeful, but the God I know describes Himself this way: “I form light and create darkness; I make well-being and calamity; I am the LORD who does all these things” (Isaiah 45:7).
Why is freedom precious? Because its currency has always been blood.
Freedom is an entirely biblical concept. Without the visitation of Jesus to earth and His willingness to be murdered as our substitute, to offer His blood as payment for our sin, we would still be living in slavery to our sin nature inherited from Adam and Eve. “Proclaim liberty throughout the land” (Leviticus 25:10), is the call of God’s people and a prophesy about Jesus who said of Himself, “He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives …” (Luke 4:18).
Every March or April we celebrate our deliverance from sin at the cross of Christ. Every May I hang my “Proclaim Liberty” sign on my front door, reminding me of the vision of God’s love for us; freedom from sin, freedom to love God and others as He created me to do in Christ. I need daily reminders of His truth to keep me from forgetting.
Today, on Memorial Day 2020, I challenge you to think and to pray. We as people, described by God as sheep, are too quick to rush to judgment, to loyalties, to beliefs, to fears based on what others publicly declare. Might the pandemic be seen as a grace to us from God? An opportunity to more highly value our freedom we’ve perhaps begun to take for granted?
Though the virus has limited our freedoms in many ways, it also has offered us opportunities to reevaluate what is important, to have the time to think deeply, to listen more to God’s Word to us in Scripture, to watch and observe what He is doing in our lives and our little places in the world.
As the national conversation about our freedom continues remember its precious value and its true source. Pay attention because this war over freedom is not in hospitals or foreign fields but is in our homes and neighborhoods.
May you understand true freedom and above all walk with God with your family as never before! May we the people of God live bravely, our hope in Christ alone!