Bill Campbell’s sixth journal entry related to freedom and a recent trek over the Pyrenees Mountains.
The battle for land and sovereignty between Israel and the Muslim-controlled nations that surround her is once again inflamed. Once again, Gaza has become a centerpiece. As we pray for the peace of Jerusalem, issues surrounding how Israel should respond are complex, even confusing. Two images from my trek over the Pyrenees mountains have been helpful to me; perhaps they will also be for you.
As we pushed higher into the mountains toward Spain, two striking symbols arose before us. First, there was a pack of wild horses whose jet-black coats would have shone brilliantly with a good bath and brushing. But they were home. They had their independence and would keep it that way. They kept a watchful eye on us as we circled around and almost stumbled over the remains of a British Halifax bomber. It had crashed in July of 1945 when its radar failed, causing the crew of seven to veer 50 miles off course. They all died. As I pushed my walking stick into the wreckage, chills ran down my spine. I was reminded of the high price paid for freedom.
The contrasting images accentuated the subtle but profound difference between independence and freedom. When we fight for independence, we want to save our space. The battle for freedom, however, is a fight for humanity. A demand for independence can be selfish. A vision of freedom invokes self-sacrifice. Freedom is built on the belief that everyone matters.
If we forget this simple truth, freedom’s protective walls erode around us until we are suppressed by ruthless tyrants. Ever aware of the human tendency to forget such truths, France created a network of more than a hundred museums and monuments honoring the French resistance to Nazi occupation. Fearful of the day the world might also forget and be drawn into a third world war, hundreds of memorials of the Holocaust have been erected worldwide.
World War II is one stark reminder that the Jews are a marked people. They were marked as God’s chosen through whom the Messiah came into the world. And they are marked by Satan for destruction. No other nation has been so mistreated, hated, persecuted, and scattered through the millennia only to be regathered, reformed, and reunited as a nation. It’s little wonder that the Jewish homeland has long been highlighted by tension-filled news.
The massacre unleashed by Hamas terrorists on October 7th, taking the lives of over a thousand innocent Israelis, was the largest single mass killing of Jews since the Holocaust. Israel’s boarders were breached, her military installations attacked, and between 100 and 150 innocent men, women and children were dragged off as hostages. The event has been described by some commentators as the Israeli equivalent of America’s 911 and Pearl Harbor combined.
With initial support by most of the Western world, Israel has taken on the nearly impossible task of rescuing hostages from Gaza and breaking the back of Hamas without decimating the Gazan hospital, schools, and civilian centers in which terrorists hide. The further Israel advances, the more it will be subject to media scrutiny, perhaps with a forgetful eye of how and why they were provoked to seize Gaza. As world opinion turns against Israel, Jews worldwide have become targets of attack.
Israel’s little strip of land comprises a mere one third of one percent of the Middle East, and Muslims control a full 99.6% of what remains. If jihadists within these nations are empowered in their wish to destroy Israel, will freedom prevail?
The world must not forget that Israel has long sought to give Gazans their space and to live as near neighbors. They were provoked to clamp down on Hamas by a terrorist attack that has surpasses those of the past fifty years. Israelis must not forget to do everything in their power to protect innocent civilians as they root out extremists. And we must not forget to pray for resolution and peace.
There is nothing like a read through the Bible to remind us that this conflict is indeed of Biblical proportions; it is rooted in history going back millennia. Such a read can bring peace to our hearts. And it can also help us reclaim Kingdom values that will bring peace between nations. Everyone matters in God’s sight.
PS: Hundreds of thousands have completed a journey through the Scriptures using Bible in 90 Days. Allow me to challenge you to make that journey your own—I guarantee you won’t regret it!