It doesn’t seem to have been too publicized in the States this week, but the news that has captured this household’s attention the most as of late is from Kenya. Their Presidential election was this week. We’ve been praying months on end with our Kenyan friends for peace and that God would fill the office with someone who will lead the nation in righteousness. You see, when their last election was held just over six years ago, over a thousand people were killed and somewhere between 180,000 and 250,000 were displaced from their homes. Last I heard reported from the BBC, approximately 15 people have been killed as a result of this year’s elections. Freedom and its cost. That’s what’s been on my mind this week.
I fear that most of us Americans do not quite grasp the high price that has been given for our freedom. This hit me hard when I saw a picture on Facebook that my husband’s best friend, a native Kenyan, posted of his sister-in-law and himself walking on a dirt road to go vote early in the morning. Now don’t get me wrong- their family lives a very civilized lifestyle comparable to Western culture. They don’t live in huts or anything. Nevertheless, he and his family members had to travel those dusty roads and stand in line for five+ hours to cast their ballot.
I think of our friends who live in Kenya and DO live in huts. They are just as concerned with the welfare of their nation as our more Westernized friends are. Though they have no electricity or running water in their rudimentary homes, they still found the time, energy, and resources to make the best-informed decisions possible for casting their ballot.
Then there are those that I don’t even know that reportedly stood in lines stretched for miles nearly all day with pride and pleasure only to reach the front of the line with their voter registration cards and be told their name was not on the list. Many people who had been displaced from their homes during the last election experienced this due to the fact that they feared returning to their villages for violence.
What happens in the States when election time comes around? There are signs, billboards, television commercials, and bumper stickers that cause opposite party affiliates’ blood pressure to rise. There’s mudslinging and name calling. There are a few places with long lines. There are those who are too lazy or ignorant to even register to vote. There are those who travel comfortably to cast their ballots in a building of some sort. But rarely, if ever, in this day and age do you hear of mass killings because of election turmoil on U.S. Soil.
While I’m grateful that we don’t experience these atrocities, I’m mindful that we often forget the price that has already been paid for our privilege to be free, as it has been engrained in our culture for so long. The desire for freedom is a universal yearning. It’s not cheap, though. It comes at the high cost of our most precious of commodities- life itself. For America, this mostly means the high cost paid by our valiant servicemen and servicewomen who have either given some or all of their life for the preservation of freedom. For our Kenyan friends, it’s the lives of civilians who were senselessly killed during opposition demonstrations or simply for their ethnicity. Much blood has spilt for freedom. I have an inkling that our Kenyan friends take a little more pride in exercising their rights to vote than we collectively do because more recently than us, they’ve seen their unarmed brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters fall to those who would seek to hinder them from their liberty. Often, our persuasion in the U.S. is more of a civic duty than a desire to contribute to the continuation of a free society. We all got hyped up following the 911 attacks, rightly so. But many of us have grown cold to the warm blood that has been shed for our liberty.
Freedom and its cost. I said earlier that I believe the desire for freedom is a universal yearning. No one desires to live in oppression. Not even the oppressors. Everyone longs to be liberated. No matter what the geography or political standpoints, the world longs to be free. Impossible, you say? Not at all. Freedom is available to every son or daughter of Adam. The only ballot you must cast is for acceptance or denial of this precious gift. Yet it has come at a high cost. Similar, yet, much more weighty to the here and now, many have grown cold to the warm Blood that has been shed for their liberty, turning hearts of stone against this wonderful gift. But it’s available, nevertheless.
Our celebration of Easter is fast approaching. But, realize this: Easter isn’t something that happens only once a year. Each citizen of the universe has the opportunity to experience a resurrection from their dead states of apathy, ignorance, or frigidness any day of the year. The cost of personal freedom from whatever has made a heart turn to stone must first be acknowledged, though, before it can be rolled away from the place that was once sealed and intended to be an eternal grave. Why? Because the cost was the Blood of The Way, The Truth, and The Life.
Perfection bleeding upon imperfect souls to create a life of freedom from the tyranny of Hell: that was the price that was paid so that the universal yearning for freedom could be satisfied.
When I look at the pictures of our dear Kenyan friends walking along dusty roads to cast their ballots in hopes of enjoying a life of freedom in the land they call home, I think of another walk to freedom along a dirt walkway very similar to the ones they traversed. I think of the Via Dolorosa…the way of Suffering…the way of the cross…The Way to Freedom.
Are you living a life that knows this Freedom? If you haven’t come there yet, I hope whatever road that has you covered in the dust of this earth and its struggles will soon find your feet walking straight to The Way of Freedom…Jesus Christ, who counted the cost of shedding His warm Blood worthy of bringing life to hearts that were once lifeless and cold.
“Surely He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered Him stricken by God, smitten by Him, and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds, we are healed.” Isaiah 53:4-5