Northern California Coast, July 2013
My heart is heavy today. It’s a tough day to be a child of God, filled with His love and joy in a world that’s filled with hate and bigotry. It’s not easy to live in a world where racism, terrorism, sexism, discrimination, and injustice seemingly run rampant. It’s not easy to see death spawned from hatred every day on the news and sometimes, it wares on my faith. How could such a powerful and almighty God let something like this happen? Why does God let his children be oppressed, harmed?
Someday we will see clarity. Jesus told us that there will be suffering in this world (John 16:33) and that our knowledge is of this world only, that there are heavenly and Godly things working beyond our knowledge. My question isn’t why suffering happens, because honestly I’ll probably never be able to justify famines and floods and genocide in my head and honestly that isn’t my place. My place is to trust that the Lord will deliver me and has my best interests in mind.
So the question morphs from why is this happening to how can I ease the suffering of God’s children while making His word known and His love apparent?
Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; please the case of the widow. (Isaiah 1:17)
There is always suffering greater than mine. Fatherless children, husbandless wives and wifeless husbands, those who are plagued by disease and misfortune and suffering and loss. I live a blessed life by all standards. My life isn’t perfect; I sin and I’m undeserving, but still I have been blessed. The Lord hasn’t given me these blessings because I deserve them. There’s a greater power and purpose for my blessings that won’t be clear to me for a long while.
Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them. He said: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:1-10)
Blessed are those who go through struggles and hardship, Jesus tells us, for they will see joy and bliss in the kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are those who experience loss because their tears will be dried by the King of kings. Blessed are those who give to others, who serve others, who work towards peace, because their Lord reigns the world. He fights for the oppressed and feeds the hungry (Psalm 146:7).
He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. (Psalm 146:7)
Maybe I’ve been called to serve. Maybe my calling is to spread God’s love and serve those who can’t serve those for himself. Bring a voice to the voiceless, dance and sing and praise for those who can’t. I’ve been blessed with talents even outside of physical blessings of comfortable wealth, an unbroken family, and the opportunity for an education.
While the worldly troubles make my heart ache and burn and cry, I am comforted by God’s love and constant reassurance. There is power in the name of Jesus. There is power in the hope that Christ brings and the abilities that we gain through our faith in Him. I trust that the Lord will deliver to those who need it and will help the oppressed. I trust that he is placing the call to serve in the heart’s of those who praise Him.
I pray that he continues to make my heart break for the troubles of the world. I pray that he continues to call me to serve those around me, those who are oppressed by hate and those who are hateful, so that I may share His Godly love with those who need it.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. (Philippians 2:3-4)