Sunday, August 3, 2008

Passing the Test of Liberty

As we read today’s headlines, we learn of constant challenges to our liberty. Terrorist’s threats against our nation, economic turmoil, and political struggles are on all of our minds. But hasn’t that been a constant in the history of our country?

From the very outset of our nation’s birth, our forefathers passed the test of liberty in places like Bunker Hill and Valley Forge. But there has come a steady stream of trials and tests to our nation that we have had to pass in order to remain free. We mustn’t forget the Alamo, the battle of New Orleans, or Gettysburg.

There have been many hero’s celebrated in our history, but none greater than the men and women who led their families through the great depression, two world wars, conflicts in southeast Asia, and our current hero’s who even today fight around the world, a war against global terror.

There has been a test that each generation has had to pass for liberty. And these tests are always given to the individual. The other evening while praying with callers in the CBN Prayer center, I received a call from a lady who wanted to thank us for an answered prayer.

It seems that her mother, who we’ll call Maria, had always wanted to become a United States citizen, but could not pass the test. Well, after praying with a CBN prayer counselor, Maria passed the test of liberty and became a United States citizen!

Now, there was a young boy named Tommy who was brilliant at an early age. Born and raised in a rural area, he had read all of his father’s books by the age of six, and had a hunger for knowledge that was unquenchable. He was tested many times in his life but at the age of fourteen, his father passed away, leaving him to assume the role of head of house.
In spite of life’s circumstances, he entered college at the age of seventeen. Maintaining his home with his mother and siblings, at the age of twenty-four, Tommy passed the bar exam and became a lawyer. When he was twenty-seven and away working in another city, his home burned down and he lost all his prized possessions, including his extensive library. In time he rebuilt his library, had an illustrious career, and passed the test of liberty.

Now Harriet Powers was an African American woman freed from slavery after the civil war. Her family suffered hardship and struggled to survive and pass the test of liberty. She was an expert seamstress who made quilts to help support her family of nine children. Few black women could write in those days, but Harriet told the stories of the Bible with the figures she sewed into the panels of her quilts.

To see Harriet’s quilts was to get a visual of the great stories of the Bible. She passed the test of liberty and led her family into the free world.

The greatest test of liberty, however, came in a garden in Jerusalem. The Lord Jesus passed the test of liberty for all mankind when He, in the deepest part of His heart, submitted Himself to His Father and said, “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine” (Luke 22:42).

At that moment it was settled. He sacrificed His liberty for ours, even to His death on a cross. Now we have liberty in Christ, eternal life that no man, no ruler, no despot, no tyrant, and no devil in hell can take from us. When we accept Christ Jesus as our savior, we are free!
The test of liberty is an individual test, which we must pass daily. Our struggle, whether spiritual, physical, or financial, is not in vain. Just as we reap the rewards of those who have passed the test before us, we pass the rewards of our tests on to those who come after us.
The Apostle Paul wrote, “As for the rest of you, dear brothers and sisters, never get tired of doing good” (II Thessalonians 3:13).

So pass the test of liberty, be an overcomer like Harriet Powers, the freed slave whose Bible quilt hangs in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC today. Or Maria, who passed the test of liberty and became a United States citizen at ninety-six years of age! And finally, let’s not forget Tommy, who at the age of thirty three passed the test of liberty when he penned these words:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” (Thomas Jefferson, July 4, 1776).

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