These dark times
Like you, I have been mortified by the events of the past few days and weeks. A few days after the shooting in Orlando, Florida, I visited Central Park with a friend of mine. We were there till about 11pm at night, and naturally, I started to get very, very worried. I wasn’t worried about staying out late, or not being home. I was worried because I felt very unsafe because an armed individual could attack us at any moment. The events of the past few days have rocked my world. I know, I know, I’m not American, and I certainly should be concerned about the events in my home country and in other places around the world. I am concerned, but it’s honestly been a whirlwind coming to terms with the racial tensions and institutionalized racism in this country. I’ve struggled with this for a long time- what’s my place as a non-American black in racialized America?
Do I say I don’t see race? Do I pretend like race does not affect me? What to do, what to do.I cannot even do that. We all see race, and saying that we do not is symptomatic of deeper-seated issues.
As a christian, justice is my call. Our God is a consuming fire, and He cares about the plight of the poor and the maligned. He cares about us all and when we see a group of people institutionally subjected to acts of violence and unfairness, it is our responsibility to speak out. It is our responsibility to protest and enact change in our immediate communities.
Although I haven’t had time to honestly process all my thoughts, I cannot but mention that I am devastated by these things occurring in this country, and the world. If America is paraded by the American people, as a “land of the free,” and the “land of democracy,” then perhaps it’s time to live up to those lofty titles.
I have two devotionals to share with you all. It’s pertinent in these trying times, so I hope that you enjoy it. These are from my Utmost.
Vision and Reality
We always have visions before a thing is made real. When we realize that although the vision is real, it is not real in us, then is the time that Satan comes in with his temptations, and we are apt to say it is no use to go on.
In the last devotional I shared here, we were encouraged to run with the vision before the enemy attacks our minds. Afterall, he comes to kill, steal and destroy. I think this reiterates the fact that when God says “Go!” we run like never before. The One who gives the vision certainly will make the provision.
Instead of the vision becoming real, there has come the valley of humiliation.
Life is not as idle ore,
But iron dug from central gloom,
And batter’d by the shocks of doom
To shape and use.
Out of darkness comes beauty. Remember that our God gives beauty for ashes, and a garment of joy for mourning. As we are thrust into mourning for all the lives that have been lost- black men killed, police officers killed while at work, we must remember that the Lord is our comfort. He is the soothing, comforting balm of Gilead.
God gives us the vision, then He takes us down to the valley to batter us into the shape of the vision, and it is in the valley that so many of us faint and give way. Every vision will be made real if we will have patience.
Do you have an idea about how to make this world a better place? Do you hope that things were than they are now? We all want a better world, but it may be you who’s been given the monumental vision. Run with it! Don’t be scared of what the world will say, we already are in desperate need of voices crying out for peace and justice in the wilderness!
If we are going to live as disciples of Jesus, we have to remember that all noble things are difficult. The Christian life is gloriously difficult, but the difficulty of it does not make us faint and cave in, it rouses us up to overcome. Do we so appreciate the marvellous salvation of Jesus Christ that we are our utmost for His highest?
This seems pretty straight-forward, what say you? Don’t be afraid to be a rebel for a just cause. Be the odd one out so that He may increase and you may decrease!
God saves men by His sovereign grace through the Atonement of Jesus; He works in us to will and to do of His good pleasure; but we have to work out that salvation in practical living. If once we start on the basis of His Redemption to do what He commands, we find that we can do it.
If we fail, it is because we have not practised. The crisis will reveal whether we have been practising or not. If we obey the Spirit of God and practise in our physical life what God has put in us by His Spirit, then when the crisis comes, we shall find that our own nature as well as the grace of God will stand by us.
In these present times, we have to practice compassion towards those who are grieving. We have to practice justice towards those who have been maligned. We have to practice fairness to the prejudiced. These things are non-negotiable in our Christian walk. We have to do them. No excuse. We have to care. Side-eye for those of us who haven’t done as much as prayed for the repose of the lost souls, or made an effort to support the movement on social media that #blacklivesmatter and that the killing of police officers in line of duty is utterly and incomprehensibly evil.
Thank God He does give us difficult things to do! His salvation is a glad thing, but it is also a heroic, holy thing. It tests us for all we are worth. Jesus is bringing many “sons unto glory,” and God will not shield us from the requirements of a son. God’s grace turns out men and women with a strong family likeness to Jesus Christ, not milk sops. It takes a tremendous amount of discipline to live the noble life of a disciple of Jesus in actual things. It is always necessary to make an effort to be noble.
Make an effort today, please. Speak up, speak out!
Till next time, A luta Continua!