Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Price of Freedom

The political landscape of this nation changed on November 2, 2010. Whatever you think of the outcome of that election, you must agree that the election of 2010 - indeed every election - happened because of those who have served in the Military Services of the United States of America. We continue to have peaceful transfers of power because brave men and women over the decades have signed up to die if necessary for a cause greater than any one person. I can hear you saying that those who were drafted didn't exactly "sign up". True, but history records how they responded to their nation's call. From colonial days until today, the people of the United States have taken up arms no less than 26 times to defend the cause of freedom somewhere in the world. Those freedoms have been preserved at a terrible price over the centuries and must be defended still against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Freedom is God-given, but it ours to preserve. In John 15:13, Jesus said, "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." Few of us are ever called upon to make such a sacrifice, but our Veterans willingly made that commitment over and over again to secure the blessings of liberty to "ourselves and our posterity" as Jefferson phrased it. 

There was another war that we dare not forget. It resulted in the death of an only son in the cruelest and most painful way possible. It was all out war between good and evil. Jesus Christ laid down his life for us, and in dying, he won the victory over all the world and even death itself. Freedom from sin is ours for the asking. As we pause this Veteran's Day to salute our Veterans, please don't forget that freedom always comes at a horrific price. And it must be preserved with diligence and faithfulness.

God always calls us to some cause, some goal, or some idea beyond ourselves. He asks us to stretch to achieve the seemingly impossible sometimes. Accepting those challenges separates the faithful from those looking to see what's in it for them. Keeping it all in the perspective of God's will for his world helps us with the faithful part. In February 1991, Hal Hughes wrote these words from the Iraqi front to his friend back home: "If you're praying for people over here, that's fantastic. Just remember to pray for Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt, Israel, and even Iraq. You may think that's not right, but remember, God created the whole world, not just the United States. What you can pray is that God would work through their lives to show them the truth...." Hal Hughes was a Veteran making the world a better place by living and encouraging others to live in a way that leads to true peace - a noble cause much bigger than himself.

Our Veterans deserve our heartfelt gratitude for the sacrifices made by both them and their families to keep order in a world that otherwise would fly apart. In maintaining the peace and prosecuting the wars, they have continued to be prepared to fight evil in whatever form it presents itself. "Thy Kingdom come," Jesus taught us to pray. God's Kingdom can come only where people are free to accept it as a way of life. That freedom is still ours because of the Veterans we honor today. Say, "Thank you!" today to someone who served.