This has been a crazy year for all of us and has caused plenty of emotions and questions within me. I am sharing my thoughts not because I have it all figured out, but because I don’t think I’m alone and I am hoping my thoughts will help others to0.
With COVID came restrictions and lockdowns. For me and most Americans, freedom is something we take for granted. Freedom to do what we want, say/think/believe what we want, go where we want… When I can’t go where I want or enjoy the freedoms we are accustom to, it bothers me. Yet, it has also caused me to pause and consider what others in our world experience all the time.
There are many places around the world where freedom is just a dream. Where woman are not allowed out of the house without a man, where being a Christian is a crime, where everyday freedoms we take for granted have never been experienced.
There are people who are in slavery in our world right now who dream of freedom. Men, women, and kids made to work long hours in harsh conditions. As I write this, as you read this there are women and kids being sexually abused, so perverse that we can’t even fathom it. There are people in prison just because they are Christians.
When I think of all this, it puts all we are dealing with in a different perspective. Honestly, we are pansies. We live in a country with the best healthcare in the world, we have a government that provided stimulus checks and other help to both businesses and individuals. We have opportunities, we still have freedoms and yet we whine, complain, and even live in fear. In truth, most of us have not experienced even a glimpse of the “hard times” others face. I know this is true for me…
Which brings me to Faith
Where is my faith in all of this? Where does my joy, my purpose, my security come from? From the freedoms, I enjoy or from my God?
There will be a day when life doesn’t return to normal when it gets way worse before it gets better before Jesus comes back. (Revelations) I don’t think this is it, but I do know I need to keep my eyes on Jesus and build my life on Him and Him alone.
Security – God is my provider. He is my father. The Lord’s prayer, “My Father… give me this day my daily bread…”
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33
And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19
Joy – If you keep My commandments, you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and remain in His love. I have told you these things so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete. John 15:10-11
Purpose – We are created for a purpose.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
It is not just enough to think about all those I mentioned early who are living in worse conditions with no freedom and then have a better perspective/attitude myself. I am not better than them. But I do have freedoms they don’t so I better use those freedoms to help them.
So don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do anything you want. Use it as an opportunity to serve each other with love. Galatians 5:13
Putting love into action is part of our purpose. Loving and serving others, especially “the least of these” in this world is part of what God asks of all of us. This time has helped me relate to them just a tad more, not that I can even slightly say I know what they are going through. It just makes me think more about the trials of their lives.
The Sheep and the Goats – Matthew 25
31When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, He will sit on His glorious throne. 32All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate the people one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will place the sheep on His right and the goats on His left.
34Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you took Me in, 36I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you looked after Me, I was in prison and you visited Me.’
37Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You something to drink? 38When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39When did we see You sick or in prison and visit You?’
40And the King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.’
41Then He will say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave Me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, I was naked and you did not clothe Me, I was sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’
44And they too will reply, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’
45Then the King will answer, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for Me.’
46And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
Where I struggle with most when it comes to loving others is loving and respecting those with opposite viewpoints. I don’t care what “side” you are on politically or on any topic, this seems to be an issue in our country in general. We talk about acceptance yet we are very polarized in our views.
I think about Jesus who sat and ate with those who were completely opposite then him. He treated them with respect and love. That is what changed people. Not debates or arguments love in action. And not all changed, yet he still loved, even praying for those who were putting Him on the cross. I have a lot to learn in this area.
My prayer should be for truth and justice in our world. Truth to be revealed so that justice can happen for all those oppressed. Oppressed by fear, oppressed by others… truth and justice to bring freedom to all those oppressed.
Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Isiah 1:17
And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed or hidden that will not be made known. Matthew 10:26
Be sure of this: The wicked will not go unpunished. Proverbs 11:21