By Dena Johnson Martin, Crosswalk.com
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23
I got in my car this morning around 5:30 am to head to work. My heart was heavy, burdened for our state, our country, our world. The news has been heavy, hard to hear. From Covid ravaging our country to violent riots and protests breaking out around the world. So many people are hurting and angry, scared and helpless.
But, as I headed east toward work, I began to see the most beautiful sunrise unfold before me. I watched as the pinks and yellows began to brighten the sky, as the sun began to peek above the horizon. The colors warmed my heart just as they warmed the skies around me.
I began to hear the words His mercies are new every morning run through my mind as I reflected on His promise that His faithfulness never ends. It was the perfect reminder for a morning such as this one.
I’ve thought about this blog post all week, wondering what to say and how to say it. I know no matter what I say, it simply won’t be sufficient. There are so many intricacies in this situation, and there’s no way I can address them all. I don’t want anyone to misunderstand my words, my heart.
Maybe that’s why so often we say nothing at all.
But, I am going to attempt to share a few things on my heart, and I pray everyone will hear the heart behind my words, no matter how inadequate they may be.
Let me start by saying this: I know so many of you are hurting, reeling from the devastation this world has dumped on you. Sickness. Job loss. Financial ruin. Anger. Violence. Frustration. The emotions are strong, overwhelming, run the gamut as you struggle to make sense of this cruel world. I may not fully understand your exact pain, but I do know what it is to feel as if the world is spiraling out of control and things will never be made right again.
I also know what it is to see God’s faithfulness carry me through the pain to a place of healing and wholeness. I know what it is to see His faithfulness fresh each day. I know what it is to experience the redemption of our loving Father.
And that’s what I want for you, too.
I don’t know what it is to be a black person in this world. In my naivete, I often find myself thinking racism can’t be as real today as it was in the early years of our country’s history. I simply don’t understand how anyone can see another human as anything less than God’s chosen child. Yet, I’ve heard it from my friends too often to know it does still exist.
My heart hurts for my black brothers and sisters.
I don’t know what it is to be a law enforcement officer in this world. I do have relatives who have dedicated their lives to serving us. I have friends who put on their uniform every single day. I read a beautiful prayer from a friend this morning, the wife of a LEO. I know she wonders when her husband walks out the door to work if it will be the last time she will see him, if he will be targeted simply because he wears the uniform.
My heart hurts for my law enforcement brothers and sisters.
I could go on. The business owners who are losing their livelihood because of the riots. The well-intentioned protestors who are marred by the actions of those who use violence. My military family who are targeted because of their uniforms. My middle eastern friends who are targeted because of their ancestry.
Our world is hurting.
As I contemplate the pain, I wonder how we, as Christians, should respond. As I think about God’s faithfulness, maybe here are a few things to consider:
Listen. I don’t know what it is to be black in this world. But maybe I need to sit down and listen. Don’t talk. Just close my mouth and listen. Hear the stories of injustice. View life from the perspective of someone with dark skin. Simply try to understand what life is from their vantage point.
Love. We are told all through scripture that others will know we are Christians by our love. It is not our responsibility to shout the loudest, to determine how others should live. It is our responsibility to love others, to treat them with kindness, to show the extravagant love and grace that God shows us.
Examine our own hearts. I am not responsible for anyone else’s actions or heart, but I am responsible for my own. When is the last time I sat down with God and asked Him to pierce my heart with His word, to examine me and see if there is anything wicked within me? When is the last time I just sat in stillness as God changed my perspective to see things as He does?
I am afraid few of us take the time to stop and seek His face and allow Him the freedom to do surgery on our hearts.
Determine to be the solution. Have you contemplated what you can do today to make the situation better instead of worse? Is there someone from a different walk of life that you can get to know, invite them into your home and be a voice of love and reconciliation? Is there someone with a different color of skin that needs a plate of fresh baked cookies as a peace offering? Is there a law enforcement officer that needs a kind word of encouragement? Let’s all ask God to open our eyes to ways we can be part of the solution.
Turn off the media. Please! Turn off the media!! The media’s job is to garner the biggest share of the viewing market, and they do that by using the most sensational stories. My mom was once interviewed by the local news media for a story about the school where she taught. When the segment aired, they had completely edited her words to fit their agenda.
And that’s what they do on a daily basis. They use the most sensational stories to gain viewers and then they can cover the results. It’s good for business, but bad for us as a country.
I am the first to acknowledge that there are bad police officers—just as there are bad black people and white people and business owners and pastors and protestors and… We could go on and on. But, when we watch the media, we get the idea that all police officers are bad. It simply is not true!
Don’t let the actions of a small minority—from any group—give the entire group a bad reputation.
Remember it is only because of grace. There was a time in my life when I made some very poor choices. It’s not something I am proud of, but it was a lesson I desperately needed to learn. You see, it was in that time that I realized it was only God’s grace that I was not a murderer or an adulterer or a racist or a terrorist or a…
None of us is perfect. None of us deserves the gifts we have lavished over us by our Father. None of us is deserving of the good things in our lives. It is only by the grace of God that I am who I am, that I live the amazing life He has provided for me. Each one of us could be the next news story, the next murder, the next casualty. We need to humbly thank God for His grace that surrounds and protects us each and every day.
My heart hurts as I see the images penetrating our homes. My question becomes: What are you going to do about it? What am I going to do about it? How can we stop seeing the ugliness and start seeing the beauty of God’s creation?
How can we remind ourselves and those around us that His mercies are truly new every morning?
Great is His faithfulness!