Freedom…it’s getting to run as fast as I can across the field to Granny’s, the wind slapping my hair all around. It’s getting to swing as high as I can in Paw-Paw’s swing under the big Oak tree with its gnarled, welcoming arms. It’s the fresh air of summer, the grass grown up to my knees, tickling and soft. It’s the smell of wildflowers blooming in all their rainbow glory. It’s the comfort of a favorite book under a whirring fan on the back porch, and knowing I’ve got plenty of time to read.
Did I ever remember to thank the ones who gave me freedom in my childhood? The ones who worked every day so I could read on a comfortable porch or swing under a welcoming tree?
Freedom…it’s my heart pounding, my throat getting full, my eyes welling up as I sing “America the Beautiful” with my church family. I can never finish out loud because my heart is so full of emotion. It’s the goose bumps and shivers that dance on my arms as I stand and hear the National Anthem while the American flag waves gently on the breeze. It’s getting to believe in Whom I believe in without fear of persecution. It’s the ability to choose my vocation, to vote for my leaders, to live where I decide, to worship where I want to worship.
Have I ever really thanked the ones who gave me this freedom? The ones who left their spouses, their children, their parents to fight for my freedom? Have I thanked the ones who left the comforts and safety of home, of a free land, to go into the darkness of warfare? The hot, dusty, dryness of the unknown? Have I really thought of the ones who died? Have I thanked the mothers who lost their babies? Who weren’t by their sides when they took their last breaths? Have I thanked the daddies, brothers, sisters, and friends who are mourning the loss of the ones they love? The ones that died so that I can be free?
Freedom…it’s a sin-stained cross. It’s Calvary, the place where forgiveness was nailed in place once and for all. It’s the blood-soaked trail up a winding hill of suffering. It’s the sound of weeping, wailing, and mourning mixed with jeering and mocking. It’s the lashes and pounding of nails. It’s the sweetest voice ever heard saying “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” It’s the crowd shouting “Crucify!” and my sin being brought to the front and center. It’s my Savior saying “Forgive Paige, she knows not what she does.” It’s Jesus. Freedom is Jesus. It’s beautiful, and it’s for me. It’s for all of us.
Have I thanked Him? Have I really and truly remembered to thank Him for the freedom that He gave to me? He offered it up as a beautiful sacrifice, and my spoiled heart takes it for granted, just as I do my American freedom and the freedom of my childhood.
Have I thanked You enough Lord? Mere words will never come close. So I offer my life, my hope, yes, my freedom to You. To the One Who gave the freedom. Forgive me and let me never forget the precious gift of freedom that has been given to me. Let freedom ring in my heart and fill it up and spill over the sides. Let it soak those around me so that they too can discover a freedom like no other that starts at the cross!