by Joanie Butman
I'm blessed to be writing this back at my perch overlooking the ocean. My soul is once again soothed by the sounds of summer that call me back every year – particularly the constant rhythm of the waves, lulling me to sleep each night and welcoming me each morning. I’ve dubbed this place my Peace of the Rock as it is located in Rockport.
I’ve been helping clean out and update my in-laws’ cottage a few doors down. They both passed away last year at the age of 98, and not much changed in their cottage over the years. Just last week I discarded the mandatory dark green blackout shades from WWII. They were required on the beach to deter German U-Boats. In typical New England fashion, my in-laws saw no reason to replace them as they still worked – sort of. They were certainly effective in darkening the place. I thought we were safe enough now to let in some light.
With 4th of July celebrations looming, those shades made me reflect with gratitude for all the men and women who have died to provide and protect the freedoms we enjoy in this country, and for our founding fathers who drafted the Declaration of Independence. Though I’m certainly grateful for the liberties the they fought to provide, I’m even more grateful to my Divine Founding Father for sending His Son to take up the ultimate battle against sin, freeing us from condemnation once and for all. Only through Christ are we liberated from the chains of sin and death and promised our own Peace of the Rock. It is for that reason that I choose to say proudly, “In God I Trust.”
While I may refer to my summer abode as my Peace of the Rock, truth be told, my Peace of the Rock is more of an attitude than location. It can be accessed wherever I am, whether it be sitting by the ocean or the bedside of a dying friend. Christ is my Rock and my Redeemer and a piece of Him lives in each believer – His Holy Spirit. However, it’s our choice whether or not to tap into that ‘piece.’ Personally, His promise to be with me always is the Peace of the Rock I cling to, and you can too. He’s available to everyone. His presence is a priceless luxury anyone can afford. “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20
We may not be subjects of Britain any longer, but we’re all held captive by something. Perhaps it’s a habit or self-loathing, guilt, unforgiveness, bitterness, anger, regret or just our past in general. The list is probably longer than the grievances against the King of England enumerated in the Declaration of Independence. Choosing personal freedom won’t give rise to a new nation per se, but will most definitely be the first step towards a new cre-ation. This event may not call for a national holiday, but it’s a decision that will be life-changing and one that will allow you to embrace life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness the way God (and our forefathers) intended.
So, while celebrating Independence Day, I will be doing more than soaking up the sun and eating hot dogs. I will begin the day as I do every morning, soaking up ‘The Son’ with love and gratitude for delivering me from a prison of my own making, and for the independence He’s given me to choose Him as my Peace of the Rock - wherever I find myself. Perhaps it’s a good time to choose to toss out the room darkening shades of your own life and let some Son shine into your soul, melting away anything that binds you. Then you will have a new Divine Independence Day to celebrate!