By Anne Peterson, Crosswalk.com
The world has been watching the video of an officer who held his knee on the neck of someone he was arresting. But instead of taking the man in, he held him captive by force. Like thousands of other viewers, this video made my insides hurt deeply.
What has followed George’s Floyd’s death is a myriad of emotions. Anger at the injustice. Sadness for his family and all who loved him. Grief that a person God created could be mistreated so badly.
An article in Christianity Today explains that George worked with ministry to youth in Texas. He had a passion for helping others to know God.
God will use George’s life. George mattered very much. George mattered because he was made in the image of God. He mattered because God created him (Genesis 1:27).
God Created Each of Us Worthy
Too often, many of us feel ‘less than others’ in life. God knows, and humanity knows, that people of many different colors experience this countless times. And it’s wrong. God created each of us to care for one another, not to deem anyone less worthy.
God knows when even a sparrow falls, so surely he knows what happens to every one of his creation. Only God knows how many days each of us will live here on earth (Psalm 139:16).
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God Cares about Us
From the time I first heard about God, I knew God loves us. We sang about it in Sunday school. We made plaques at vacation Bible school with the verse, God so loved the world (John 3:16). Later, I learned more verses that continued to reinforce how much God cares about us (1 Peter 5:7).
I learned the most valuable gift God offered us was Jesus (Romans 8:32). If God gave his most valuable gift to us, it’s evident that God cares.
There’s only one entity who doesn’t want us to believe the truth. Satan, the enemy of our souls, wants us to believe that God doesn’t care. Or if we do believe God cares, Satan will try to persuade us that God will get tired of caring about us.
Satan has us dwell on difficult situations in our lives, our losses, anything we’ve struggled through...so that we take our eyes off of God.
God Wants Us to Be with Him
The Bible is a love letter from God to us. Some have never read this letter. Some see the Bible as a book with a lot of do’s and don’ts in it. But it really is a love letter and it outlines how we are born sinners (Romans 3:23). How because of our sin, the penalty is death (Romans 6:23).
We can’t go to heaven with our sins. God is holy and just. So God provided a way that is accessible by all, no matter what age, what vocation, or what color. Jesus is that provision.
When John the Baptist saw his cousin, Jesus, approaching one day while John was baptizing people, John called out, “Behold the lamb of God (John 1:29)’. Jesus became our sacrifice, our lamb. God tells us when we accept his sacrifice, we can spend eternity with God. We only need the Son (1 John 5:12).
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Salvation Is Available to All
God didn’t make heaven a prize for those who do the most good, or who have done the least bad things. No. God knew we all needed a Savior. The whole world needs a Savior. So God made Jesus available to every single person who exists.
God's gift needs to be accepted (Ephesians 2:8-9). God knows us. He knows we have a tendency to boast at times. I know I have. But God chose to give all of us the chance to receive his most precious gift.
If I held a gift out to you right now and said it was yours, what would you have to do to enjoy my gift? All we have to do is accept it.
And for God’s gift, we need to accept it as well. Accept the fact that we are born a sinner. In the Old Testament, God told the people to take a perfect animal and sacrifice it. The blood of the animal was placed over the doorpost of their homes. When the death angel passed over, those whose houses had put the blood on the doorpost would be forgiven of their sins.
But that was just until Jesus came. God said without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness (Hebrews 9:22). But it had to be perfect blood. And Jesus was the only man who had never sinned.
Jesus is our sacrifice. George Floyd knew Jesus. And because of it, George wanted to share Jesus with others.
The Only Way to God
I grew up in a religious home. But it was later at a Bible study when I really learned what the Bible taught. God made a way to heaven that is accessible to all. I remember when I read the account of all the horror Jesus went through, I wondered...was there no other way?
But we don’t think like God. Our thoughts are not like God’s thoughts and our ways are not like God’s ways (Isaiah 55:8-9).
When we get to heaven, we will understand things much differently than we do here on earth. We will have our questions answered. But God is the one who decided about heaven. And when Jesus died on the cross and shed his perfect blood, the Bible tells us that God’s heart was satisfied (Hebrews 10:12). God required perfect blood, and Jesus was the only one who could fulfill that.
When Jesus was on the cross, he said three words, “It is finished,” (John 19:28-30). He was talking about the payment for sins—my sins, and your sins, too. In Roman times when a prisoner had fulfilled his sentence, they stamped a word on his cell wall. The word was “tetelestai.” That word means it is finished.
Why We Are Grieving with God
I am grieving the loss of George Floyd because he was one of God’s children. I am grieving the sin nature and violence of humanity. But I know I’ll have the great honor of seeing George in heaven one day. And I know when we shed tears because of those we’ve lost...God cares.
When Jesus visited the home of his friend Lazarus who had died (even though Jesus knew that He would raise Lazarus up) Jesus grieved (John 11:35). When we accept the wonderful gift God gave us, one day, we’ll see those who have also accepted Jesus.
My sister was a victim of domestic violence. She was killed in 1982. One day when I was tormented, thinking about what her last moments might have been, God said to me, “Anne, I was with her.”
I believe when Peggy took her last breath, that God carried her to heaven.
When George Floyd cried out and it seemed no one heard, God heard.
And George Floyd is in God’s presence because of Jesus. One day I want to shake the hand of this brother of mine.
As we’re grieving the loss of George Floyd, we need to remember God understands. He watched his only begotten son die. And he was there when the world let go of His child, George.
May we all invite God into our healing as we continue to offer love and compassion to one another amidst unthinkable tragedies. Let's ask God how we can each be part of the solution, in a world desperately in need of His peace.
Editor's Note: a previous version of this article contained a short poem that has been removed.
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Anne Peterson is a regular contributor to Crosswalk. Anne is a poet, speaker, published author of 16 books, including her latest book, Always There: Finding God's Comfort Through Loss. Anne has also written and published another memoir, Broken: A story of abuse, survival, and hope. Sign up for Anne’s newsletter at www.annepeterson.com and receive a free eBook by clicking the tab. Or connect with her on Facebook.