4th of July: Dream of Freedom

The upcoming festivities here in Lake City set me to thinking a little bit about some of the historic ramifications of the 4th of July: In 1863, as June broiled into July, rumors began to fall like long-awaited raindrops on the starving and thirsty people of Vicksburg, Mississippi. Battle Map   It looked as though,  General Pemberton was finally reconciled to the fact that reinforcements would never come and he was considering throwing in the towel.  Vicksburg home On the 4th of July, the terms of surrender hammered out and accepted.   the Federal troops, led by General Grant, rode victoriously into the city.  After 47 days of siege and constant bombardment, the citizenry, both black and white, crept  out from filthy caves to meet a new reality.

Grant & Pemberton sign surrender at Rock House

Battered and embittered, they endured not only that lengthy siege, but also Federal occupation, followed by years of post-war reconstruction. White people were disheartened by what they had lost.  Former slaves soon realized that this new freedom was not the marvelous be-all, end-all they had envisioned. Heart wounds were deep and very slow to heal. SoldiersThe corporate memory of  that awful siege and the humiliation of surrender was so repugnant that the 4th of July holiday was totally shunned and ignored in Vicksburg for generations.  Not until after America’s WWII victory did attitudes slowly begin to change and they felt able to fully rejoin the United States and celebrate the 4th of July again.Flag and fireworks No one walked away from that sad experience unscathed.  Years of exposure to constant uncertainty, hunger, fear and stress had taken a heavy generational toll.  Bitterness and anger, in addition to loss of loved ones, property and prospects left  Southerners with serious scar tissue and a  true desire for some sort of mental delineation from this brave new world. Vicksburg couldn’t move on from that fateful 4th of July.Dad and son with fireworks Today, we are far removed from the pain and disillusionment of the American Civil War.  Yet, all of these symptoms and feelings are universally relate-able and current.  Life happens, dreams can be elusive, health fleeting,  people  will continually disappoint or damage us, fortunes come and go, the list is endless.  We were never intended to carry these enormous burdens of life on our own.  Jesus, in Matthew 11:28 calls all of us who are weary and heavy laden to come to Him and he will give us rest. (We will explore the Hebrew ideology of the word “rest” in another post but it is much larger than an afternoon nap.) Are you among the walking wounded?  Are you caught in the old “Vicksburg” pattern of continually nursing those grudges, wallowing in real or imagined suffering?   Friends, clinging to life’s “If onlys” and mourning our losses  is the spiritual equivalent of  constantly picking at a weeping scab.Confederate Army I’m not saying that your hurt, shame or pain are not real, or even that those that have inflicted damage deserve to be forgiven:  but, will you choose to stay in that place of self- righteous woundedness and let it steal your family’s destiny, divert you from your dreams and smother your hope of present joy?  Scripture tells us that forgiveness is the balm, the antibiotic, that creates an atmosphere for spiritual and sometimes physical healing.  Only with true forgiveness can that Spirit of Bitterness be yanked out by the root to make room for the joy of real freedom. Let this be the year you celebrate real Freedom in Christ.  Let this 4th of July, 2014 be your true Independence Day! heart and banner forthScripture references for Forgiveness: Matt 6:14-15, Mark 11:25, Acts 3:19, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Colossians 1:13-14  Bondage: 2 Timothy 2:26, 2 Peter 2:19, Acts 8:23

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One Response to 4th of July: Dream of Freedom

  1. Don Korb says:

    “Miss Sally” – What wonderful crafted words fitly spoken,(Prov. 25: 11 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver) on a stumbling block so prevalent in society today.

    The comments below we’re saved by me several years ago. Even Wilkerson’s prayer about magnets line up with your last blog “Like Tacks to a Magnet”

    BITTERNESS (Root of)
    Heb. 12:15. Looking diligently lest any fail of the grace of God, or lest any root of bitterness springing up disturb you, and by it many are defiled,
    David Wilkerson: After all, if one Christian’s bitterness can “defile many” (Heb. 12:16) how much more will one person’s dependence on God bless and sanctify many? PRAYER:
    Lord, give me a passion for your Word, and make me obedient to your will. I want others to see your work in me. Make my life a magnet, to draw many to you!

    Thank you Sally for sharing your gifted writing skills with us!

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