“Oh say, can you see?”
Our freedom came at a price. Blood shed and terrible losses for many families was the sacrifice years ago of people like you and me. Those people believed in freedom.
Stanza 3 of our national anthem contains these lyrics:
“And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
A home and a country, should leave us no more?”
The price of freedom also secured safety for home and country. Now people can live in freedom.
Stanza 4 surprised me. Did you know these powerful words are part of our national anthem?
“Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: ‘In God is our trust.’
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!”
Frances Scott Key believed God is the foundation of freedom.
This morning in my time alone with the Lord, I reflected how Jesus died for people’s freedom in a realm that reaches far beyond this physical life. In much the same way men and boys sacrificially fought for people’s right to freedom in this country, Jesus fought unseen powers in a significant battle. Jesus believes freedom is the right of every person He created. “It is for freedom that Christ has set you free.” (Gal. 5:1) And so, on a lonely battlefield, in a dimension beyond our sight, Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for us all. Jesus believes in freedom.
How should we respond to daily freedom we often take for granted? There are 3 things that help us remember our debt of freedom:
- Live with gratitude. Life is hard, and gratitude is a choice. People who don’t practice gratitude become self-focused and stagnant. People who do practice gratitude always have a freshness about them. A positive energy. “Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Eph. 5:20)
- Actively pursue God who is under this nation. In fact, He is under all things. “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” (Col. 1:17) The Bible tells us to “seek His face always.” (1 Chron. 16:11; Ps. 105:4) Seeking someone’s face is a word picture of intimacy. Face to face. To look into another person’s face, their eyes, unashamed or unafraid, is a behavior that reveals trust and closeness. “Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while He is near.” (Is. 55:6) Apparently, there is a season for this pursuit that will come to a close. Things will look differently in the new season.
- Celebrate freedom! Practice cheer! Every day, we should be aware of the freedom we enjoy. Yes, in this wonderful country. Yet particularly the freedom because of Jesus’ finished work on the cross. He intends for us to live free every day . . . forever. We are to spend deliberate energy practicing cheer. Rejoicing. “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again – Rejoice!” (Phil. 4:4)
Did you happen to notice the exclamation point in stanza 4 of our national anthem (above) at the very end – after “brave!”? That exclamation point is part of the original lyrics. It’s intentional. Did you happen to notice the exclamation point in the verse (directly above) “Rejoice!” That exclamation point is part of the Scripture text. It’s intentional.
Are you living intentionally each day in your freedom? Practicing gratitude? Pursuing God’s face? Celebrating and practicing cheer? Do YOU believe in freedom?