By Diane Mayfield –
This past Memorial Day I was flooded with thoughts of those brave men and women who fought for our freedom through the years and those who choose to fight today. Then my thoughts became more personal and I thought of my dad who died almost 20 years ago.
A young man of 18, he chose to join the Marines and left for the Philippines to fight in World War II. He never talked about those years and yet I know they molded him for life. Before he left, his grandmother gave him a Bible that he carried the whole time he was there. I came upon that Bible after he died. I have it today. It’s quite a treasure to me.
Sometime before he died, not knowing at the time that my dad’s days were numbered, we had a conversation about Heaven. He said he knew where he was going; that he had made his peace with the Lord many years ago. My dad was not a religious man most of his life. When I was in eighth grade, he converted to Catholicism and then began attending church, but his faith was always very private to him.
My dad and I didn’t enjoy a close father-daughter relationship for years. In fact, I didn’t really like him or want to be with him for most of my life. It wasn’t until I trusted Christ my senior year in college that my attitude toward him changed. Many things changed for me that year as a result of Jesus in my life. My appreciation for my parents, especially my dad changed. I wanted to be with him. We had long talks about politics, history, work and other life issues. We played tennis together and went out to lunch.
He died too early, just when we were really beginning to know each other. God gave me a gift that day when my Dad and I talked about Heaven. Then after he died, I found his Bible. I believe it was God’s way of letting me know that my Dad was truly free in eternity with Him and I would see him again someday.
Now we look forward to another holiday of freedom celebration—July 4th. In this country, we have several days where we remember freedom fought and gained for us as Americans. There’s also The Emancipation Proclamation where slaves were finally declared free. In Texas, we recognize Texas Independence day. The Civil Rights movement is another celebration of freedom.
But the real beginning of freedom was that day thousands of years ago when our Lord Jesus died on a cross. The sky darkened, the temple curtain was torn in two, and the real fight for freedom began. Three days later, it was won. Jesus was raised from the dead. Death and Satan were defeated for good. True freedom was then made possible for all mankind.
Each day when I bring my heart before my Lord, I am reminded of that freedom. He continues to show me truth about this world and myself. I am set free from the power of sin and darkness to choose the light of His Spirit in me.
I join with other Americans in remembering those who fought for our earthly freedoms but I cannot stop there. I must start with my Lord Jesus who showed me the real truth as He promised and set me free for all eternity.
“You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free” (John 8:32 NIV).