Saturday, January 29, 2005

Grasping for Freedom

Tomorrow the people of Iraq will be given, for the first time in far too long, the privilege of voting. In my reading of the Wall Street Journal this week, I noted that estimates for eligible voter turnout in Iraq are anticipated to be up to 80% of eligible voters. These voters head to polls under the threat of injury, while we head to the polls under the threat of being late to Starbucks, or missing a Simpson rerun if we get home a bit late. Can anyone tell what OUR voter turn out was here, in November, in the land of the free, etc? Try a 59.6 turnout rate of eligible citizens, the highest since 1968 when 61.9 percent of eligibles voted. Sigh!

An Iraqi votes in Michigan, overcome that his son, who was killed in the 1991 uprising,
could not vote with him. Hat tip to
Hugh Hewit for the link to this wonderful photo.

All these thoughts of freedom bring me back to a wonderful opportunity I was given in the summer of 1984, when I traveled to Eastern Europe on several occasions with a ministry then known as Eastern European Bible Mission, now changed by the force of freedom into New Hope International. I traveled with teams bringing (actually smuggling - very James Bond-ish) Bibles and encouragement to the persecuted church behind the Iron Curtain. That summer changed my life, and began to change some of my political perspective as well.

I will never forget meeting with the faithful behind the Iron Curtain. Young and old, humble and educated. Their perspective of their faith was so very different than mine. They really needed Jesus, they depended on Him daily, in a way that I could only imagine. Theirs was a faith that had legs on it, that meant something of substance. In 1984, freedom for Eastern Europe was only a fantasy. But more on my travels later.....

And now, it is the Iraqis' opportunity to grasp for liberty. May all of our prayers follow them as they head to the polls. Lord, keep them safe...

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