Coronavirus Devo #13

I USED TO THINK

I used to think that
if I had been with the Israelites in the desert
I would have trusted God to provide
food, water, and protection;
that I would have gone into the long-awaited Promised Land,
the first time;
that I would have decried the golden calf for the idolatry that it was;
that I would not have grumbled and complained and rebelled against God. 

I used to think that
if I had been living in Jesus’ day
I would have recognized Him for who 
He was;
that I would have followed Him despite the opposition from 
political, military, and religious leaders of the day;
that I would have remained by His side when confronted by an angry mob 
seeking to arrest Him;
that I would not have denied Him three times,
or even once,
but would have been proud to be known as one of His associates;
that I would have remembered and believed when He said He had to die
but also that He would rise from the dead three days later. 

I used to think that
racism didn’t exist in America and it definitely wasn’t a systemic issue;
that there were racist people but that I certainly wasn’t one of them;
that as long as I avoided certain terms and words and distanced myself from those who did, 
I could claim innocence;
that keeping silent was better because mentioning racism acknowledged it
and acknowledging it gave it power
and that power reopened old wounds and caused fresh pain;
that I loved and respected all races the same 
and that saying so was doing my part to promote equality and justice.

I used to think that
Psalm 115:5-7 would never apply to me.

“They have mouths,
but do not speak;
eyes,
but do not see.

They have ears,
but do not hear;
noses,
but do not smell.

They have hands,
but do not feel;
feet,
but do not walk;
and they do not make a sound in their throat.”

I used to think a lot of things.

I feel like I have been walking around with a blindfold on 
and it has just been pulled off
and I can see the world as it is,
rather than how I pictured it in my mind.

I can’t say how I would have carried myself had I been with the 
Israelites in the wilderness.
I can’t say how I would have responded to Jesus.
While speculation on past events is interesting,
the much more pressing question to answer is
“How will you respond now?”

These are some of the ways I am learning to respond.

Put aside the differences that cause division.
Celebrate the differences that enrich and deepen.
Seek out perspectives that are different than my own.
Step into other’s shoes, walk around in them, and see how it feels.
Show up, and keep showing up even when I mess up.
Call out injustice and racism, in myself and in the world.
Listen to hear, not just to respond.

Will you join me?

As the author of Hebrews puts it,
“But recall the former days when,
after you were enlightened,
you endured a hard struggle with sufferings,
sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction,
and sometimes being partners with those so treated.
For you had compassion on those in prison, 
and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property,
since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession 
and an abiding one.
Therefore do not throw away your confidence,
which has a great reward.
For you have need of endurance,
so that when you have done the will of God you may receive 
what is promised.
For, 
‘Yet a little while
and the coming one will come and will not delay;
but my righteous one shall live by faith,
and if he shrinks back,
my soul has no pleasure in him.’
But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed,
but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.”

Micah 6:8 says,
“He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice,
and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?”

Let us do so with boldness, courage, and the sacrificial love of 
our Lord Jesus Christ.