The greatest abuse that we perpetrate on liberty is our assumed right to it. We claim liberty as our God-given right, and we vigorously decry the unjust desecration of it when we feel that it’s being violated. Too many of us view liberty as something that ‘just is,’ and too few see it as something that ‘is’ only because someone, somewhere was faced with the reality that to keep liberty meant paying a stiff price.
Liberty Isn’t Something that ‘Just Is’
Liberty isn’t something that ‘just is.’ Liberty is something that men and women were willing to trade their lives for, to ransom their dreams to achieve, and to risk all that life meant to them in order to protect everything that liberty meant to everyone else. They’ve come in droves from farms and factories. They’ve left cities and small towns, family businesses and academic pursuits to stand against those who threaten it. And they’ve stood in places like Bunker Hill and San Juan Hill and Cemetery Ridge and Iwo Jima and the DMZ and the winding streets of Baghdad. In places just like these and in thousands of others places now lost to the faded pages of history 1,344,000 American servicemen and women died in the defense of this county. They never went back to the farm or the factory. Cities and small town’s mourned flag-draped coffins. Family businesses struggled on without them, and academic pursuits were left for others to pursue because they had the liberty to do so. I would dare any of us to tell these people or their families that liberty ‘just is.’
1,530,000 American servicemen and women were wounded in the defense of this country. They returned to the farm and factories, but they returned with wounds that would haunt them for a lifetime. Cities and small towns tried to understand how to cope with disabilities that changed the person that they had sent away with pomp and circumstance. Family businesses struggled to support them and academic pursuits were either taken up with great struggle or abandoned altogether. I would dare any of us to tell these people or their families that liberty ‘just is.’
And finally, 38,160 American servicemen and women were missing in action in the defense of this county. Farms and factories wait and wonder, praying that through some miracle they’ll come home. Family businesses go on but always preserve some place out of the desperate hope that a vacant desk will someday be filled. Academics vigilantly stand with an empty desk at the ready as well, hoping that studies might resume and that a road to the future might once again be embarked upon. And I would dare any of us to tell these people or their families that liberty ‘just is.’
It’s About a Priceless Principle
Liberty is God’s unalterable and untouchable design. It is His uncompromising and eternally unflinching intent. We carelessly threw it away in a Garden at the beginning of time, and the cross lovingly handed it back to us. Liberty is God’s war cry for us, and like millions since He sent His Son into the very same battle. And like millions since, His son died in the battle to achieve liberty for us. The difference is that there is no flag draped coffin, and there are no impaling wounds, and He’s nowhere close to being missing in action. This man Jesus died to liberate us, and then He liberated Himself by rising from the very death He died to bring us liberty. There is no greater or more far-reaching liberation than that.