It’s 1:30 am and I can’t sleep…I keep thinking about my skin color, my experiences, my faith, my family, my successes and my failures. I am heart-broken about the tension (for lack of a better word) between different races. My glass-is-half-full side wants to believe in our justice system…but I know it’s a facade from my own experience with a legal battle where anything but justice was served. I’m thinking about the frustration and fear and crime and I feel overwhelmed. My head knows that God is not overwhelmed, surprised, or un-prepared to handle the mess that we keep making of his beautiful creation. So, to settle my brain, I thought I would go back to what helped me through my spiritual crisis after the poisoning: finding truths to stand on.
1. Our God is Good. Good. Not evil. He created different races, genders, personalities, skill sets, passions, etc. not so that we would be divided…but so that we could wrap our human brains around the many different facets of our Creator. We were not created to be in competition with each other…but to complement each other and reflect a more complete picture of our Good God. It does not mean that everything we do is good…not by a long stretch…but since mankind was created in the image of God (A good God)…maybe we should not assume that anyone else is purely evil (especially if we are making the assumption based on the other person being different from ourselves.)
2. We can trust our Good God. We are only here because he saw fit to create us and breathe life into us. So, whether you are a mother who is concerned about the well-being of your babies, a man who will have to live with the consequences of his actions for the rest of his life, or a young adult who still thinks that you’ve got “control” over your life, God thinks you are valuable and he takes joy in the creation that is you. He is the author of life, he is the giver of every good gift, and he loves you and your loved-ones even more than you do.
3. We live in a fallen world. I’m not saying that to be trite…but this is not the Eden we were intended for. We are going to experience hurts, grief, fear, frustration, and rejection because our world and our souls are broken. That is why our breath catches in our chests and tears spring to our eyes when we hear about tragedies: 9-11, Sandy Hook, Boston marathon, and now the death of Michael Brown and the fallout that has occurred. This is not Eden and we weren’t supposed to experience this. It is not a reflection of our life-giving God and when we learn about it, something in us ruptures…shatters…because we were not supposed to know death…and when we are confronted by it, it leaves a nasty, bitter taste in us…it changes us.
4. Because we are all broken, we are going to hurt each other. We are going to damage others and they are going to damage us. So, we have a choice to make: we can retreat into isolation and lick our wounds while they fester and turn into bone-deep sickness that robs us of life and joy…or we can offer up our hurts to our Jesus as an offering and find light and truth and peace. Make no mistake about it, whether we like it or not, we are either fully pursuing Jesus’ peace or we are pursuing hate by nursing our biases and prejudices (and if we allow that in ourselves, we are making the gospel weak and small…something not worth offering to others.)
5. People are going to respond badly. There are going to be people…”Good Christians” who will spout hatred in the name of God. There are going to be intelligent people who buy whole-heartedly into ignorant ideas. And there are going to be broken people who enjoy bringing misery to others. But none of that changes who Jesus is. His identity is not dependent on the behavior of Christians (Whew! That is good news because if I’m honest, I suck!) There is rest to be had in understanding that God is still God regardless of our circumstances.
6. When we get it right…when we are able to pour out what is being generously and lavishly poured into us…we get a glimpse of Eden…we get a glimpse of what we were designed for…and it brings glory to the one who deserves it.
**I know this one was preachy…but it wasn’t meant for you, it was meant for myself. Re-visiting truth is what brought me out of the pit that I lived in for a long time. It was a despairing, bitter, and painful place that I wouldn’t wish on anyone…so on the off-chance that this could help someone else re-direct their eyes back to Jesus, I’m sharing it with you all.**
My prayer is that we would pursue healing, rest, and peace that God can give us in any circumstances. Much love friends,