July the Fourth celebrates America’s Independence Day. It isn’t just another day off work. Or another opportunity to eat too much and stay out to late. Those fireworks aren’t meant to entertain us with their colorful display.
July the Fourth should be a time when we reflect on the freedoms we enjoy in the United States. On this day, we fill our hearts and mouths with praise for our right to speak independently from our government and worship God as our own personal convictions dictate.
One thing Americans neglect on this day is counting the cost. I’m not talking about your grocery bill for all those brats and burgers. Or the exorbitant sum spent on personal and community fireworks.
The price of freedom cannot be measured in dollars and cents. Instead, this precious commodity comes at the expense of lives and blood.
To Recap the Price for America
Freedom is never free. We enjoy the benefits of someone else’s sacrifice. Most of the time, men and women in uniform protect our freedoms at the cost of their own life and health.
For American freedom, the cost in lives can be calculated by totaling the casualties in all the conflicts in which we protected our own lands or aided our allies from hostile invasion (the list doesn’t include dozens of other battles, namely with the Native Americans):
Revolutionary War: 25,000 War of 1812: 15,000 Spanish American War: 2,446 Mexican American War: 13,283 Civil War: 750,000 The Great War: 117,465 World War II: 419,000 Korean War: 36, 516 Vietnam: 58,209 Iraq: 4,804 Afghanistan: 3,441
In lives, our freedom cost 1,445,164 lives. After lining up all the people who live in Vermont and South Dakota, you would still need to find 5,243 people to match this number. And those two states rank amount the five smallest population-wise in the US.
Scary, isn’t it?
If the total number of wounded were added to this total, the staggering amount would immobilize us. Or it should. Why do these people military and civilian alike put themselves in harm’s way?
They understand that liberty involves sacrifice. Freedom is never free. A steep price in blood and lives purchases our often unappreciated freedom.
Now the Price for your Soul
In His mercy, God devised a way for our debt to be paid that wouldn’t require us to die eternally. It still required blood and life. In this case, it was the blood of His only Son, Jesus Christ, that would be accepted as payment for the sins of all mankind (Heb. 2:9).
Unlike our personal freedoms in America, which our citizenship automatically grants us with no action required on our part, we do have an obligation to perform in regards to our eternity. Until we take this action, we are dead men walking. Our sentence has already been passed down and we have no hope to avoid it.
In order to have our sin debt paid, we must go to Jesus Christ. We must admit to Him that we are indeed guilty of sin and deserve a death sentence. He will hold out his nail-pierced hands. We must repent of our wickedness and accept his gift of eternal life.
Once again, we won’t have to pay with our blood or life. It’s amazing that Jesus Christ freely offered his own body to buy our spiritual freedom.
Have you accepted the payment Jesus made? Do it today.
Have you thanked God for your physical freedoms lately? What about thanking a man or woman in military uniform for their service? They might have to pay the ultimate price someday soon.
This Fourth of July, stop and consider the grave payment made for your freedom to take a day off work and chill with friends or family. When those fireworks light up the sky, remember the “rockets’ red glare” and “bombs bursting in air” mentioned in The Star-Spangled Banner.
Be grateful. Not everyone is enjoying freedom today.
*Numbers from http://www.militaryfactory.com/american_war_deaths.asp and verified with other resources