thoughts on freedom

When I see this little canvas in the corner of my room, I am reminded again of Ukraine’s history, how they have been conquered and ruled time and again, how the people are strong and resilient.

This painting emerged one night as revolution rang in the streets and sniper bullets had rained downtown. A measure of uncertainty fell like a blanket over all our lives.

This small work isn’t fancy and would never be praised for its show of skill and mastery, but it is meaningful to me. It reminds me that freedom comes at great cost.

Over the last several years there have been times I’ve been tempted to add to this canvas and try to make it more sophisticated, not quite so I could have created this elementary school looking, but I just can’t bring myself to do it.

I think most of the time the process to freedom doesn’t come out looking the way we thought it would or think it should. We want to cover up the parts that look childish or like mistakes, but the truth is that those moments are part of the freedom journey, too, and shouldn’t be discounted.

Yesterday was the celebration of our independence here in America. For most of us it was probably a day of food, friends, and fireworks. The fourth of July is also meant as a reminder of the freedoms we so often take for granted and the sacrifices that made a way for those freedoms.

Whether we are looking for freedom in our nation, in our relationships, in our bodies, or in our spiritual lives, there is a price. There is always a price. There are choices that must be made, there are difficult actions that must be taken, and we must be aware that freedom comes with great responsibility. Freedom is never passive.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1 NIV

Though battles rage all around us, hope remains, love conquers fear, and we have a promise of true freedom in Jesus Christ. It is through Him alone that hope remains alive and active in our world. We can find ourselves not enslaved to the whim of tyranny, but able to live free of fear. And if we find ourselves free, then we have an obligation to share that freedom with others.