Land of the Free, Because of the Brave

“Oh say does that star spangled banner yet wave, o’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave?”

On Monday, I was feeling very patriotic sitting on the top of my car listening to “The Star Spangled Banner” and “I’m Proud to be an American” while watching fireworks and celebrating my country. But here I am, Friday, devastated and speechless over the events that have unfolded since then. Not only in my country, but in my city, way too close for comfort.

Since Monday night, I have had the phrase running through my head — land of the free, because of the brave — because of our armed forces, our police department, our fire department, our country is able to experience the freedom and protection that we have today, but no matter how great of a job these people as a whole perform, corruption and evil continue to put up a strong fight. 

There is corruption everywhere. There are corrupt police officers, there are corrupt truck drivers, corrupt men and corrupt women, corrupt whites and blacks, corrupt people claiming every religion under the sun. And Jesus told us to expect nothing less.

There is evil running rampant in this world, and I hate it, especially this week. Dallas is my home. The skyline whose pictures are plastering every social media site is one that I drive past regularly. I have a friend who is training to become a Dallas Police Officer. To say that last night’s shootings hit too close to home is an understatement. It brought me to tears and to asking way too many “why?” questions that I will never have an answer to. So I could talk all day long about how awful these tragedies have been, how much hate is blanketing my country, but my Heavenly Father keeps gently prodding me with 2 things. 

1. He has already claimed the ultimate victory

“And He said to me, “It is finished. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give water as a gift to the thirsty from the spring of life. The victor will inherit these things and I will be his God and he will be My son.” — Revelation 21:6-7

After the Christina Grimmie shooting last month, I watched her cover of “In Christ Alone” on repeat. I cried over and over hearing her sing “No guilt in life, no fear in death, this is the power of Christ in me. From life’s first cry, to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny” Her final breath was way sooner than anyone would have expected, but as I listened to that song wash over me time after time, God began to wash over my heart with peace. He reminded me that He is not only the Creator of the Universe, but also the Sustainer of the Universe. No matter how dark the night looks, He still reigns victorious, and He is coming back one day to claim this world that He has never let go for a moment. In times like these, I have to cling to that hope and have faith in the promises of my Savior that He will never leave us alone. 
2. This is my chance to be a light in a dark place

As I began to think about that hope that I can have, even amidst all the chaos, hate, and darkness cloaking my city and my world, I began to realize how selfish I must be not to be proclaiming that hope everywhere I go. This world needs hope and peace and healing, and more than ever, they know that. Christians have been handed the golden opportunity to be the vessel God uses to bring that hope and restoration. The world is looking for hope and peace like never before. We hold the gospel, we hold that hope, and it’s our job to share it. 
It hurts that this happened. It makes it hard to feel safe even in my own city. It sparks despair and fear. But I have a choice. We have a choice. We can talk about the problem all day long, or we can look to our ultimate solution. Our Father that already reigns victorious. So join me in praying for Dallas and even more in being a beacon of hope to our dark world. Here in America we live in the land of the free because of the brave like those police officers who risked and lost their lives for us; and as Christians, we live free because of Jesus who paid the ultimate sacrifice of His life for us. So let’s start living like it. Not taking advantage of our freedoms anymore, but using them to spread our light. 

“No guilt in life, no fear in death, this is the power of Christ in me. From life’s first cry, to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny. And as He stands in victory, sin’s curse has lost it’s grip on me. For I am His and He is mine, bought with the precious blood of Christ.”