He was 18 years old. He was not there by choice. Poverty and the choices of others had placed him there. Those who had made the decisions didn’t even know him. They likely did not understand that an 18-year-old young man from Kentucky would pay the price for their decisions.
He was lying in a rice patty in Vietnam. He was farther from the dreaded cotton fields of southwest Kentucky than he ever dreamed. But, a fourteen-hour day in a cotton field would have been much better than these short few minutes.
It was his first-week “in-country” and he was what we call a newby today. Then he was just the new guy. The moment we are reflecting upon was his first patrol. His squad had stumbled upon a sniper and had made it to cover without him.
Imagine, crawling as low as possible through a soggy field, with bullets flying over your head. Those bullets were likely being fired by another 18-year-old who really wanted you to go home. And, of course, you agreed. You also wanted to go home. It was the manner of transportation that was in question. Would it be a bus or a body bag?
“Maynard, get out of there!” That was my Dad’s first real lesson in “charm school” as a U.S. Marine in 1967.
What Is Worth Fighting For?
Why would a young man submit himself to the orders of a person he has never met? Why would he leave behind all that he knows and travel to a strange land? Why would anyone march in front of bullets if ordered?
Freedom. Freedom is worth the fight.
Galatians 5:1 (NLT) So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.
It is worth fighting in the trenches and marching in the streets. It is worth courtroom battles and coffee table debates. It’s a struggle to stay informed. But, if we are to resist tyranny in our day, it will be through conflict in its many forms.
We have to know it’s worth it.
I want to just live my life, take care of mine, and take comfort often. Why be involved in a church? Why would I give up evenings to attend city council meetings? What benefit is there to serving on chamber committees or in local addiction groups?
All of these things are about maintaining and giving freedom. And freedom is such a beautiful and powerful thing.
Freedom is God’s idea.
2 Timothy 2:25-26 (NLT) Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. 26 Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants.
Jesus Christ’s epic battle and ultimate victory over sin, sins, and death was a fight for freedom. Jesus is very concerned with your freedom. The New Testament is greatly concerned with your freedom.
God placed free people in the Garden of Eden. There God created Adam and Eve in the most vulnerable and secure of realities. Then God gave Adam and Eve a directive, “Do not eat of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.”
But, there was a little problem. Adam was created in the Image of the Universe’s only FREE being. Freedom was Adam’s DNA.
Adam had to choose that directive. Adam needed to understand that life and freedom in this world come by relationship. Knowledge and information are not enough. They must come through a relationship in order to be fully grasped.
So Adam made a choice for independence that resulted in the loss of his freedom.
But God did not give up on Adam. And, God doesn’t give up on us. God doesn’t give up on freedom.
God pursued Us.
He pursued Adam, the son who had rejected Him. He also chased after, Seth, Noah, Abraham and so many others.
That path of redemption found Moses, freed a nation, and gave Moses the Law. Ultimately, this persistent God sent Jesus and secured freedom for all who call upon Him.
So, yea… Freedom is important. And, it has ALWAYS been a fight.
Remembrance Is A Great Way To Fight.
Remember what God has done.
2 Timothy 2:8 (NLT) Always remember that Jesus Christ, a descendant of King David, was raised from the dead. This is the Good News I preach.
We are guided, well actually, we are commanded to become like God in the New Testament. How can we emulate God if we cannot remember His deeds? Is there some way to know what God is like? How could we if we do not remember His pursuits and accomplishments?
The only reason there is a gospel to preach and good news to share is that God made sure it was so.
He fought through the accounts of Biblical history for us and for our freedom.
If we can’t remember what God has done for us, the remembrance of so many far lesser things becomes worthless.
So, remember God’s great story as recorded in your Bible.
Remember the sacrifices of others
1 Peter 5:9 (NLT) Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.
No one is old enough to remember everything firsthand. We must connect with the stories of those who have gone before. We must learn the high cost of freedom from our parents, grandparents, and the saints who have gone before us. We must also calculate the much higher cost of tyranny.
And, we must remember the great value of those sacrifices. Those extreme expenditures of courage and patience had kept tyranny at bay.
Remember your commitments
Hebrews 10:32 (NLT) Think back on those early days when you first learned about Christ. Remember how you remained faithful even though it meant terrible suffering.
We must also remember our commitments. Our words mean things. And, our words have bound us to Christ. We are Christ-followers. We represent Jesus to a broken and enslaved world. The fight for the freedom of others is our honor and privilege.
Enjoy Memorial Day Weekend
Enjoy the holiday, but please know that it is intended as a day of reflection. Memorial Day is a day each year that we choose to remember those who have given all for our freedom.
So take a moment of honor, remembrance, and even grieve.
Then, enjoy the gift of freedom.
God’s Power In You!