When you wake up at 1 pm after working two night shifts you don't much know what to say or do. But when you sit down to read the news, and you see riots, and genocide, and terror, and then for a split second, you let the reality of the dark things that tempt you to trade everything for temporary pleasures that lead to permanent chains slither into your mind and you shake your head and dash from the horror as fast as you can, one thing becomes very clear: Oh how we need a Savior!!
I'm married to a police officer, so reading about the situation going on in Ferguson is close to home. Seven (I started with two, but more kept coming as I was typing) things come to mind:
1) Police officers have to make split-second, life-or-death decisions and they don't always make the right one. That doesn't automatically mean they're cold, hard, racist, murderers.
2) Police officers have tremendous authority and therefore their decisions (even if made wrongly out of a moment of bad judgement) must be held to the highest scrutiny and standard.
3) Rarely do you hear of a person going about their business, doing good, when a police officer comes up to them out of nowhere and shoots them. That doesn't happen. (Maybe it's happened in history. I don't know. But it's not a frequent news story that's for sure). But in most news stories where an officer either wrongly uses his authority, or makes a bad judgement call that injures or kills someone, the person(s) involved are engaged in some bad/wrong/illegal thing.----------- The above was written Monday. Below today. ---------------
4) Missouri needs a peacemaker- A person who will step forward and be willing to suffer to bridge the gap between two opposing parties.
5) Race does not equal wrong doing. A person's actions should not be judged because of their race, but because of their actions. If you're white, black, brown, purple, green, red, yellow or blue and you steal, vandalize, riot, cause fights, etc. your actions are wrong. Period.
6) I hate what has been done to the black person in the name of God or superiority or rights in our history! I hate that the country where I experience so much freedom is the country that built it's economy on the backs of African slaves. I hate that there are still people in this country (and in the world I'm sure) who still look at their fellow man and make a judgement about their worth and intelligence, person hood and trustworthiness based on the color of their skin. I hate it! Those wrongs are not fixed by committing more wrongs.
7) I am white. I will never know what it feels like to be given a suspicious stare because of the color of my skin. When my white, blond boys walk down the street, I don't have to worry that some person in authority may take away their rights, or their life simply because they seem suspicious due to their skin color. I am not a racist. But I am white in a predominantly white culture and I have no idea what it feels like to be suspect simply because of the color of my skin.
The situation with ISIS, and the horror of what happened to James Foley, and the horror of what is happening to tens of thousands of people who have been forced out or fled Iraq now eking out an existence in refuge camps or abandoned buildings, slaps me in the face and shakes me right out of the depressive thoughts I deal with every day. I cannot sit in a mire of despondency when I see the video of the marching of thousands of families into the desert and a photo of a terrified man on his knees minutes before his brutal murder on the news. I'm snapped out of my slump in despair onto my knees in desperate prayer. Not only for these people, but for me, and my household and Christ's church in America.
We, I, have no idea what it is like to suffer for our faith or under the macabre rule of violent men who believe they're on a mission from God. We grumble and complain and protest over our rights and against "injustices" that threaten our comfort and ease and beliefs. What will we do if our rights are physically taken away? What will we do if our lives are threatened and our bodies and the bodies of our loved ones are tortured or abused or killed by those in authority over us? Grumbling, complaining and protesting will do no good.
If we can't take up the commands of God through Paul to the church to pray for and show respect to those in authority while we have it so good, how will we if we're in the situation that the church Paul wrote to was in? If Paul told the Christians of his day to pray for their "kings and all in high positions" and treat him with respect, what would he say to us in relation to our current president? What would he say if we were under violent Islamic extremists like ISIS?
"First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for ALL people, for kings and ALL who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for ALL... " - 1 Timothy 2:1-6 (emphasis added by me)
I choke on the anger in my throat when I read this. I need this to be my heart if I hope to ever stand amidst true persecution and suffering. Because if my heart is full of revenge and a clinging to my life and rights I won't stand.
I pray that God would take for himself some of the leaders of ISIS. That he would conquer their murderous, evil hearts just as he conquered the murderous, evil heart of Saul... Paul, who wrote:
"... though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost." -1 Timothy 1:13-15
I believe in a sovereign God. I believe in good, sovereign God. I believe he desires all men, even the men of ISIS to be saved from the wrath that is coming against them. And I believe he is working all things, even the evils happening around the world to his people, for the good of those who love Him and for the glory of his name! May he give me the grace to stand.
On a personal note, as I eluded to, I have been struggling through a season of depression for awhile now. And as I said, contrary to what you'd think, these horrible things going on the world are not adding to my depression, they are actually working to pull me out of it. When I think of my brothers and sisters in dark places, suffering for the sake of Christ's name, it puts my "suffering" in proper light and I recall Hebrews 13:3 and pray that God would not let me forget them:
Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. -Hebrews 13:3
But when the shock of what is going on in the world fades, and I find myself slipping back into the quicksand of lies this depression is surrounding me with, my sole comfort and hope is Christ. The only real escape my thoughts and heart have from the heaviness and despair I'm living with right now is the word of God. His word to me right now is literally like a breath of fresh air caught through a crack in a cave of poisonous gas. I press against the rock and breath deep. But I'm quickly overcome by lies because I can't seem to call the truth to mind when I need to. This is why I need the body of Christ.
We need each other. We need to tell each other the truth.
I met with a neighbor today. We confessed our sins to each other and shared our battles and prayed for each other. We're the same. We need Christ. We need the truth.
I came across this awhile back. I felt like someone understood.