This week has been hard. Physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually – there’s a lot to take in and I’m tired. We’re all tired. America’s tired. In the week after our nation celebrated its 240th birthday and its freedom from Britain, we are reminded again and again, oh so clearly, how little freedom there truly is.
Alton Sterling. Philando Castile. Delrawn Small. Three more black families destroyed by the systems of a nation that promised prosperity, hope, and freedom. Not to mention the cops and protestors that were shoot in Dallas. Many Americans look down on the violence going on countries, remaining blind as our nation is blowing up around us.
As the words of Habakkuk go:
2 How long, LORD, must I call for help,
but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, “Violence!”
but you do not save?
3 Why do you make me look at injustice?
Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?
Destruction and violence are before me;
there is strife, and conflict abounds.
4 Therefore the law is paralyzed,
and justice never prevails.
The wicked hem in the righteous,
so that justice is perverted.
13 Your eyes are too pure to look on evil;
you cannot tolerate wrongdoing.
Why then do you tolerate the treacherous?
Why are you silent while the wicked
swallow up those more righteous than themselves?
At our day camp, our theme is that we are created in God’s image. And because of that, we are powerful, we are beautiful, we are creative, and we are valuable. We are loved by our Maker and our lives matter. We repeat this over and over again to our campers and make them repeat it back to us because we don’t know if they are hearing this anywhere else. Living in a place surrounded by shootings and killings and injustice makes it much harder to believe in this truth.
But the more I speak of God’s message of love and value to these campers, the more upset and angry I’m getting with God. I know He cares about these Black lives and these broken families, so where is He? How much longer is he planning on waiting, because I don’t know how much longer I can…
There was one cool thing that happened this week that has been helping me as I attempt to process all this stuff going on. This Sunday, we went to visit multiethnic churches around the cities. However, our group ended up at a different church than the one we had planned. The church addressed the tragedies that had been happening across the US, but rather than despair or hate (as I normally do), they responded by turning to God. They deliberately chose to remember both the blessings that God has provided them and the things in the world that still need to be changed. They encouraged the congregation to respond with love, while recognizing how hard that would be.
This is something that I’m desperately trying to do. To remember how God has worked powerfully in my life and in the life of others. To remember that God truly has the power to fix our world and heal our systems. To remember that God is still looking on us with compassion and a broken heart. To remember that God remembers us. There’s a lot wrong with this world but we have a God that is a lot of good.
Rest in power, Alton. Rest in power, Philando. Rest in power, Delrawn. #BlackLivesMatter