I am a huge history nerd. Like honestly, I am constantly watching documentaries or reading historical accounts of specific events. Don’t even get me started on the random stories of different battles and wars I have learned over the years, or I’ll never shut up! I was watching something about immigration in late 1800’s today, and like you’d imagine it, the famous poem was read. Yes, I’m talking about the poem written by Emma Lazarus to raise money for the construction of the pedestal for the Statue of Liberty in the early 1880s. I’m sure any US citizen has heard these lines at least once: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…”
Fun fact: the first time Lazarus was asked to do something for the Bartholdi Pedestal Fund, she turned them down. She had a friend who persuaded her to see the importance of what the Statue of Liberty would mean to all the souls that would embark on their journey through Ellis Island, and Lazarus gave in.
Those famous lines remind me of God. He for some reason wants us and still loves us at our most vulnerable.
Give me your tired: Matthew 11:28-29; Psalm 62:1; Jeremiah 31:25; Isaiah 40:29; Psalm 73:26. I can go on, over and over again in the Bible you can find examples of God calling us to rest in Him.
Give me your poor: Proverbs 31:8-9; Proverbs 22:22-23; Psalm 12:5; Luke 6:20-21; Zechariah 7:8-10. Again, I can continue. Not only is God willing to battle for people in need, He calls us out over and over again to help Him in those battles. He tells us to practice hospitality. He teaches us caring for the poor and those in need.
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free: Isaiah 10:1-3; Proverbs 17:5 and many, many more. What comes to mind most with this part are stories in the Bible: God delivering Moses, protecting Esther and Mordecai. Joshua and Jericho. God led people into battle to free their people.
I see a lot of people who argue that America is not a nation under God and that it never was. This gets me. People came here and risked everything in the pursuit of freedom- one of the freedoms they fought for was religious freedom- it was and is literally in the very first amendment.
I’m also huge into musical theatre. One of my moms and my favorite shows is 1776– its the perfect combination of history and Broadway. Every single time I watch it, I cry. When you see all those men, knowing the consequences of declaring America and themselves a free nation, still signing it, it just tugs at my heart. Those men were willing to fight for their freedoms. If you read accounts of some of those men and their families, they were willing to do that because they trusted God.
Before the poem was written, by more than 100 years, people knew that they needed freedom in a new nation to worship God. They trusted God when He said to give Him everything- tired, poor, oppressed. After signing, almost every man and his family were persecuted for the actions they had made in faith. They defied the king to trust the KING.
So what’s holding you back? Fight for God. Have faith. Give Him every broken piece of you. He will not fail you or let you down, but the adventure ahead of you will be incredible- filled with praises and trials, He will see you through all the same. He created you with a purpose, and perhaps, just for this moment ahead of you.