She consisted of 350 pieces transported in 214 crates. When reassembled, she stood 151 feet tall. Designed by Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel, her copper sheets were sculpted by Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi. The pedestal on which she stands was built with funds from benefits, charity auctions, and private donations. In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge declared her a national monument, one that still represents freedom, not only to newly arriving immigrants, but to those of us who have lived here our entire lives.
Americans cherish their freedom, although we sometimes take it for granted. We seem to think we are the only ones so blessed. Yet Christians have always had more freedom than anyone in the world. Christ has set us free from sin and the power of death. Too many times we take that freedom for granted as well. We are too busy making excuses for our failures to appreciate the power he has placed in us to control ourselves and overcome.
But then, that is a freedom we have too, isn't it? The freedom to choose not to take advantage of his help and his promises. How many of us look at the choices set before us and stubbornly make the wrong ones? God tells us how dangerous the world is. He warns against deception and trickery. He tells us our salvation is our own responsibility so be careful who you follow. Yet even when we look at the choices side by side, we seem so drawn to the wrong ones. They are immediate. They are tangible. They are pleasant. The idea of something far superior in the future seems to be pie in the sky. “A bird in the hand…” the old saying goes, and we fall for it nearly every time.
It would be so much easier if God made the choice for us, but where is the glory in a creature who cannot choose?
The idea that God did not give us a choice, that He makes the choice of who will be saved from the moment of their birth is, of course, a fairly common theological doctrine. Yet it limits God in ability and creativity. It makes Him a respecter of persons. It makes Him unsympathetic and unapproachable, a tyrant who makes decisions seemingly at random, playing with the eternal souls of people as if they were plastic action figures. That is not the God of the Bible. There are too many heart-rending pleas for us to return. There are too many passages giving options to people in all sorts of situations, including whether or not they will serve Him for that to be true.
He gave me a choice; he gave you a choice. Make the right one.
I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse: therefore choose life, that you may live, you and your seed, Deut 30:19.