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Two Freedoms to Cherish on this 4th of July

David Burchett
David Burchett
2016 4 Jul

I love the Fourth of July. My beloved and I had our first unofficial “date” on an Independence Day celebration in Fort Collins, Colorado many, many years ago. A song from Five for Fighting  called “Freedom Never Cries” is timely for this holiday. Writer/singer John Ondrasik has become one of my favorites. Ondrasik writes personal and powerful songs that resonate with me. “Freedom Never Cries” is a song about how we take freedom for granted. Ondrasik talked about the song in an interview posted at liveDaily.

It was definitely a statement song that has a point of view. I think it kind of speaks to the fact that, I know at least for myself, we tend to only appreciate things when we need them. The chorus of that song says “I never loved the soldier until there was a war / Or thought about tomorrow ’til my baby hit the floor.” I know I never started thinking about my future until I had my children. I never talked to God until somebody was about to die. My grandmother passed away last year–she was 93. She had a great life. It’s funny that I tend to find religion when I need it. Or when somebody’s sick. My dad had heart surgery this year, and it’s amazing how religious I was that week. Freedom’s similar. Growing up here in the bubble of the United States, we are statistically lucky to be born into this country where freedom, to us, seems natural. We couldn’t imagine anything else. I think sometimes we don’t recognize that. Freedom never cries. Freedom doesn’t sit in the corner and whine and make us recognize it, per se. I think if you look at the world in general today, many countries don’t experience the same freedom of expression, freedom of religion, women’s rights, freedom of the press that we have. Obviously, that leads to a majority of the world’s conflicts today. I wanted to recognize that, “Hey, freedom has a price, it’s not a gift.” It’s a little reminder to ourselves, we’re some of the lucky ones here.

The song is powerful. And the timing is sobering as we head into the celebration of the struggle to gain the incredible freedoms we have been granted. The freedom to vote. Freedom of religion. Freedom of speech. In a few months we face the awesome responsibility of voting.

Freedom is like your health. You don’t appreciate either one until they are gone.

H.L.Mencen once said, “We must be willing to pay a price for freedom, for no price that is ever asked for it is half the cost of doing without it.” Think about that.

And think about the lyrics of this song.

I never loved the soldier until there was a war
Or thought about tomorrow
’til my baby hit the floor
I Only talk to God when somebody’s about to die
I Never cherished Freedom

Freedom never cries…

Thank God today for the blessing of freedom. Thank God for the men and women who will not be home this holiday as they serve to keep our freedoms intact. I cherish the freedom in America.

I also cherish another kind of freedom.

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.  (Galatians 5:1, NASB)

I am tired of waking up determined through grit and discipline to be righteous. Jesus says I already am. I am redeemed. A saint. So I am learning to believe who Jesus says I am and live out of that truth. The good news? It is freedom. Paul gave some great insight into how to live out this freedom that is ours.

For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  (Galatians 5:13, NLT)

Cherish both freedoms as a citizen of the United States and as a citizen of heaven. And take neither for granted.

Dave Burchett is the Author of Stay: Lessons My Dogs Taught Me about Life, Loss, and Grace. A portion of every sale goes to train service dogs for wounded veterans through Patriot Paws.