So you, by the help of your God, return, hold fast to love and justice, and wait continually for your God.~Hosea 12:6
Thoughts rush as opinions hurtle across oceans, over screens, as we talk about people we don’t know, as we say things no one seems to hear….
It’s the passion in the voice of a friend
…as he sits in an airport, jet-lagged and full of emotion, just back from Southwest Asia, saying:
“…But when you actually look at them…they light up.”
When you actually look at them.
The hair on my arms stands up because of the truth & power in those words.
There is a God who actually looks at us. He treats us with more respect, dignity, and love, than we treat those dearest to us. He declares goodness, complete finality to our inheritance, and I am so ready to believe it, yet,
How do we believe those three words “It is done” when everything around us seems so undone?
I’m banging little white fists on the chest of God. I cannot reconcile the pain, the inequality, the judgment, the profanity, the disrespect for human life, with these promises of God. I cannot make sense of a world that lives & breathes only by the power of love yet contains horror, abuse, cages holding little girls, babies with swollen bellies, men out of work & out of dignity.
It doesn’t work, God. There is no justice. What Kingdom has come? Who is reigning over us?
And God says, love and justice.
But God how can they accompany one another? This is impossible.
Yes, daughter, this is the impossible life.
This heart stretching confusion. This pain I never knew existed; I see hurt unbearable in the faces and stories of people I love (love more than life). Injustice lives in the lives around me. Yet there is life all around: vivacity giving birth to cycles of sorrow.
Every question mark will not be followed by an answer. Every answer will not be the one I wanted to hear. ~Amena Brown
The ones who don’t care for justice, Lord. Or love? How do I see them? How do I treat them?
The answer is clear. With love and justice, with no judgment but holy judgment.
They make a joke of your name. They parade your words like naked jesters before the eyes of billions. They defame love.
Holy judgment is mercy. Holy judgment is the anointed One hanging by his hands until dead. Love happened while we were yet sinners.
If we can’t love the ones who don’t love the ones closest to God’ s heart (sojourners, outcast, impoverished, downtrodden) then the holy water we soak in may be poisoned [Macklemore, Same Love].
How is it he loves us so unendingly?
I remember a girl whose anger controlled her life.
Who saw red.
Who could not tolerate the rich & the apathetic.
Who never wanted to have children because life is just suffering.
Who pulled out her hair and sometimes didn’t eat.
I remember a girl, conflicted & insecure,
Crying in her truck, flicking ash & hopelessness out the window.
Who spent hours reading oh-so-misunderstood Gospel Words then screamed for God to show up
Who didn’t have the courage to have friends, to let anyone in.
Sunday, riding my bike past a homeless man trudging through a cool drizzle, it occurred to me.
I’m not angry.
I’m at peace.
I’m not alone.
I’m not hard.
I’m sad, soft.
I’m in love with life.
Those hours spent boxing with God [Amena Brown] were not wasted. Heaven is coming in to my heart. Heaven is setting me free. Somehow knowing it is done (for me, for everyone who has wronged me, will wrong me, and does wrong others) empowers me to believe it CAN BE DONE here. Now. Due to divine power, my brokenness gives birth to new life, to more & MORE freedom. In all the wreck of our world, eternity is pushing back the curtain of evil & ignorance.
Bless our God, O peoples!Give him a thunderous welcome!Didn’t he set us on the road to life?Didn’t he keep us out of the ditch?He trained us first,passed us like silver through refining fires,Brought us into hardscrabble country,pushed us to our very limit,Road-tested us inside and out,took us to hell and back;Finally he brought us to this well-watered place. ~Psalm 66:8-12
Where is justice when I choose my own way?
Where is justice in my 22 years of privilege?
Where is justice for all the times I hurt others with my words?
Where is justice when the professors round my grade up?
Where is justice when I pay $140 for a cell phone & a factory worker pays with their life?
Just as his wind moves silky strands of hair across my face so he smooths the fly-aways of guilt and anger in my soul. He runs a gracious hand through my fears and reminds me that kindness overcomes hatred, that love is greater than fear (and not just for the privileged, not just for the ones who play by “the rules”). Love. Always.
May the refugees find homes.
May we open fearless arms to brothers & sisters of every religion.
May we, refugees on a rock hurtling through space, have peace & make peace.