On October 22, just a mere few weeks ago, I was working my shift at Starbucks about to head back in from my break, when I got a text from my sister.
“There’s been a shooting in Ottawa, at Parliament Hill,” she told me.
In a shaky quick moment, the innocence of my country’s capital was lost. The Hill that lent itself to giant yoga sessions, and fireworks on Canada Day, and magnificent light shows — one which I saw when I sat on that field in the summer a few years back — suddenly had its innocence snatched away. I was shocked and sad and scared after hearing the news. The Starbucks customers whispered updates to me across hushed tables.
The shooter killed a soldier, they said to me. A young twenty-four-year-old man from my own city.
I stepped on a plane to North Carolina the next day. I flew away from Canada as the country cried the prayer that strings together our national anthem, God keep our land glorious and free.
I think of Ottawa and Ferguson and Rwanda.
I wonder what glorious and free looks like when guns fire, and machetes hack away, and bombs explode, blood spilling down rivers and roads and Canadian war memorials.
Spilling down the wood of a cross.
I wonder what glorious and free looks like in a world that is achingly beautiful, and at the same time full of so much pain.
When the solider was shot that terrible day in Ottawa, a few people rushed over to him to try and stop the blood. One of them was a woman who knelt down beside his head whispering over and over and over again, “You are loved. You are brave. You are loved.”
The soldier died hearing the truth we all desperately need to hear.
Sometimes I get caught up in the bad. I get caught up in the fear. I can’t shake the thoughts of doubt and disappointment and I ask Jesus why we live in a world that feels scarier every year. I wonder what the world will be like in the years to come, if it will only continue to get worse.
Then I remember the woman who whispered that truth to the solider, reminding me that there is good in this world even though sometimes it can feel overshadowed by all the bad. That woman represented something revolutionary to me: good will persist.
A still small voice breathes against my cheek like a cool breeze: this life is glorious and free.
I think of Calvary, that ultimate sacrifice. I think of nails and blood and the words of Jesus, Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing. I wonder how often He whispers that now.
I think of His sacrifice, where the truest freedom was extended to us, where his humble glory shone steady and firm.
Even in the painful, even in the broken, even when nothing feels glorious at all.
This life is glorious and free.
Indeed.Leave a Comment
The Baby Mama says
God didn’t just send His son to save us for all eternity. I believe He sent His son to save us from ourselves – in this world, because so often we actually just don’t know what we’re doing. He is here to be our guide, to light our way, and to love us – right here, right now where we are.
Bev Duncan @ Walking Well With God says
This is why I begin the day with (in)courage and quiet time with God before I even pick up a newspaper. The news can be so terribly gruesome and hard to bear unless I first go to God to be reminded that I am glorious and free because of the blood His son shed for me. Thank you for a beautiful reminder that good does, and ultimately will, prevail. We know how the story ends and that gives us courage to live in the day to day.
This is amazing. Thank you!
Kathy @ In Quiet Places says
We are glorious and free in the name of Jesus Christ our God, and there is no other name but His that can give us hope in this world.
Kristy Cambron says
What a powerful post! Thank you so very much for writing from the heart — and for grabbing my attention. May we never be too “busy” to notice, to remember, to get active in the things happening around us each day. May we be His eyes, His hands, His feet – and His knees bent in prayer. <3 – Kristy
Lynn Morrissey says
THank you, Aliza. I needed this reminder. It’s very difficult to watch the news and see all the grief and horror and sadness breaking this glorious world of ours–devastating its inhabitants. And then it gets closer, such as in Ferguson, which you mentioned, with the protests that are spreading further and deeper into our St. Louis community (the latest very near our home). It’s a dangerous and difficult time. I don’t feel free, but frightened. I truly needed your words, because all Christians, I included, are free in Christ. That is the truth. He came to save and free us and that truth sets us free. We can share with the hurting and lost and the oppressed the freedom that we and they can have in Christ. And there is devastation worse than physical….there is being captive in mind and spirit because of fear. I ask the Lord to unbind my mind and set my spirit free in Him. When I”m free, I’m free to share his love and goodness and “glorious-ness” just as you have done here. Thank you for your encouragement.
Such a necessary reminder when the news–both public and private–hits us hard.
Mary B. says
Thank you – something that I needed to hear this morning. All of the comments added a little more strength to my morning also. Living a couple of miles outside of Ferguson. Bracing for the unknown. Needing prayers and to be reminded of who is in charge.
He is here to be our guide, to light our way, and to love us – right here, right now where we are.
We know how the story ends and that gives us courage to live in the day to day.
Jesus Christ our God, and there is no other name but His that can give us hope in this world.
May we be His eyes, His hands, His feet – and His knees bent in prayer.
Kim j says
I love the verse ” in this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world.” This life is full of trouble, pain, and heartbreak-but God!! He knew before hand what we would face in this world and that gives me peace. We may have to go through a lot before we are called out of this world, but I am resting in the one who has overcome this world. Thank you for writing such a wonderful devotion.
Anna Rendell says
Thank you for this quiet and strong reminder today, my friend.
Jeanne Takenaka says
Aliza, what a beautiful post, and timely reminder. I find it shamefully easy to wrap myself up in my little world comprised of my hubby and boys, and not look beyond that to a world that is truly hurting. In the midst of the evil are people—people hurting and being hurt. And needing to hear that there is good, in the form of Jesus. And He is the One who brings healing and freedom in His perfect ways. I need to be still enough to feel and to pray in the midst of the ugly. Thank you for the reminder!
Thank-you from a fellow Canadian,
Your post is truly inspiring….I too remember.
And yes despite the darkness lurking, the goodness stands out.
Beautiful, beautiful post. Thank you so much for sharing.
Beth Williams says
Wow! What a poetic picture you painted for us. Truth is this world will get uglier and uglier. The Bible states there will be wars and rumors of wars. The devil is hard at work trying his best to deceive as many as he can before the second coming.
I just use the acronym SAP (Stop and Pray). Pray for the victims, community, and the shooter/troubler. Let Go and Let God handle the situation. Soon, I pray, God will begin His second coming with the rapture.
Until then we must learn to live as Christians in a fallen world. So hard.
Thanks for a great post!
So much beauty and pain and truth laid down… beautiful Blood spilled out so that we could truly live glorious and free! Amen!
LAYLA BB SOLMS says
thank you for your words of truth, your honesty. i needed this reminder today, and will need it for many days to come. lovely.
Just yesterday, I sat near a beautiful little girl, almost bald (from chemo?), on the metro in Istanbul. She fell asleep on her daddy’s lap, so loving and so loved, and yet probably both without salvation. How long, O Lord? Please show Yourself and then come soon.
I, as a fellow Canadian, appreciate your words so much today. I went through the full gamut of emotions over the Ottawa tragedy, and not only for the young soldier but also for the soldier run down and killed by a maniac only days before in Quebec. Such madness happening all over the world. Sometimes I am very afraid, sometimes downright angry, sometimes so very sad. Yet I know things will get a whole lot worse before they get better. Jesus said it would be so. I believe the Day of His second coming is rapidly approaching. That is good news for we who believe, but what of the billions who don’t?!? One thing about all the fear and anxiety being produced by these horrors today–we have ever-greater opportunity to befriend the frightened lost, and point them to the Cross, the Saviour. HE is our Hope. Come quickly, Lord Jesus.