One of the tough lessons to learn in this life is that, no matter how hard we try, many things will never be completely the way that they are supposed to be. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try to do things correctly, morally and otherwise. But, it is a sobering reality that even as we strive to do what is good and right, there remains struggle, pain, and suffering as an enduring reality even then. It’s like the creation itself is “groaning” for renewal and restoration right along with us. That reality reminds me that even as “saved people of God,” we are pilgrims here waiting for the complete restoration, the total freedom that God has made possible for us in Jesus Christ. God doesn’t want us to get comfortable in this sinful world because He has a new world in store for those who put their faith in Him.
In “The Problem of Pain, C. S. Lewis famously noted,
The settled happiness and security which we all desire, God withholds from us by the very nature of the world: but joy, pleasure, and merriment, he has scattered broadcast. We are never safe, but we have plenty of fun, and some ecstasy. It is not hard to see why. The security we crave would teach us to rest our hearts in this world and oppose an obstacle to our return to God: a few moments of happy love, a landscape, a symphony, a merry meeting with our friends, a bath or a football match have no such tendency. Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns but will not encourage us to mistake them for home.”
Lewis speaks of our moments of delight as “pleasant inns.” The 4th of July is one of those moments in our culture where we revel in the freedoms that have been uniquely fashioned for the citizens of this country. These freedoms are protected from government overreach. They are to be exercised with a religious motivation and a self-discipline that looks out for others more than oneself. But, no matter how wonderful they may seem for a time, the chaos in the world remains, reminding us that Christ has “inaugurated a new Kingdom” in this world as a gift, but we will not fully experience or enjoy it until his return. So, enjoy the “pleasant Inn” of freedom this week, may it refresh you. But, never forget the total Freedom, the eternal Freedom that Christ wants for you. May that enduring reality strengthen you no matter what comes your way in this life. Even as creation itself seems to groan, it should remind us all that no matter what we are facing today, in Christ, the best is always yet to come!
PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, give me an eternal perspective on things as valuable as “freedom.” And may I rest all my hopes and dreams for such things in you, giving me strength to live a life of freedom IN YOU for others. AMEN.