I went for a walk this morning as the sun was rising. I looked up and thought… how appropriate God would make the sky so beautiful on this particular morning of September 11.
As I looked up to snap this photo of our flag, something else caught my eye. A plane. As I watched it soar against the backdrop of this captivating sky, tears formed in my eyes.
How grateful I am for freedom. How grateful I am to live in this country. And how heavy my heart is in remembering the tragedy that happened on this day fourteen years ago.
Last weekend, I went on a retreat to Zion. It was there I truly experienced beauty like I never have before. And such freedom – a freedom unlike any I’ve felt, a freedom from all the things I’m tied to: my schedule, to do lists, grocery shopping, doctors visits, appointments, obligations…
It was here in Zion I felt great freedom in letting go, freedom in releasing my burdens, freedom in forgetting my worries and just leaving it all behind for a while. It was here I was drawn to capture so many photos of this flag waving in the valley winds.
I felt freedom in simplicity – in no makeup and messy hair, in drinking water from a spicket right from the ground, in sitting in a river with just a chair and some friends – and that being the highlight of most everyone’s weekend. So ordinary. So simple.
And yet we experienced the extraordinary, too. We went on some truly incredible hikes with the most breathtaking of views.
On this day marked with such tragedy in our American history, yet such a reverence and sense of coming together as a country, I am grateful to live here in America. I am grateful to be free.
“Free is every breathe, every step I take. Free is when you know that your soul’s awake.” – Steve Moakler, Free
I felt my soul awaken in Zion. I felt freedom in each breathe of fresh mountain air, in each step amidst such great natural beauty. I experienced God through His creation in such a raw and tangible way. Truly, I felt free.
When I think about freedom, I can’t not think of the truest and greatest freedom available to us – a greater freedom than that which we find living in America, than the feeling we get from being in nature – the freedom we have in Christ.
Through His blood we are made clean from our sins, we are pardoned from our falling short, we are able to seek Him, reach Him, cry out to Him, be found in Him, be free in Him. We have the incredible freedom of being released from the bondage of this world.
Drew Holcomb sings,
“You can’t lock me up and tell me about freedom.”
The lyric is from a song called You Can’t Take It With You. The stuff of this world – we are all tied to it to some degree (I mean, we have to have jobs, we have to shower…) After all, we are in the world. But we are in the world, not of the world. And we don’t have to stay locked up by being tied down to worldly “treasures.”As Drew sings,
“You can’t take it with you when you’re gone.”
What we can take with us is the eternal. And while we’re here, we can find such freedom in that – in knowing what really matters. And what doesn’t. In knowing our value is found in who we are and not what we have. Psalm 119:32 says:
“I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free.”
The freedom I find in Christ makes me want to seek His will, to follow His commands, to experience the best life I know He has to offer – to run, not walk, in the path of His commands.
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” – John 8:36
We have been given such an incredible great gift of freedom in Christ, and we have the great gift and ability to share that freedom with others. And so I share these photos with you. I don’t know about you, but I can’t look at views like these and not believe in a great and mighty, powerful and loving, gracious and generous God.
On this day, on September 11, I hope you feel the freedom of living in this great country. But more importantly, I hope you experience the great freedom of a life found in Christ that will never fail, never fall short, never restrain.
“Where You are, Lord, I am free.” – Matt Maher, Lord, I Need You