God Cares About Justice

I have been trying to write this blog post for two weeks and yet, here I am, still struggling with what to say. When I saw the news about Ahmad Arbery being shot by two prejudiced vigilantes, I cringed and was heartbroken. When I saw the video of George Floyd as a policeman kneeled on his neck and indifferently snuffed out his life for the world to see, I was appalled and heartbroken. When I watched as a delivery driver was trying to leave after a delivery and got blocked because of the color of his skin, I cheered him on for videoing the encounter, but was heartbroken because I know that when he finally left and had time to breathe, he probably broke down and cried. And when I watched the video of a white woman screaming and calling for the police when a black birdwatcher asked her to put her dog on a leash (which was required in the park where she was) I was angry and heartbroken. I watched and cried as Archie Williams, who was wrongfully accused, convicted, and sentenced to life in prison for a crime he did not commit, took the stage on America’s Got Talent and gave a whole new meaning on the song, “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me.”

And yet, a part of me feels like I am complicit in these crimes. I know the biases and prejudices that exist against someone who has been born with skin a different color than my white (actually beige with freckles) skin. And yet, I have been largely complacent while seeing deeply imbedded prejudices, and systemic values continue in the conversation about racism.

As a Christian, I am compelled to remember that God cares about justice. I think the black community has been crying out for justice for a long time, and we have ignored their plea. We have allowed the injustices that are meted out to blacks to continue. And we are now seeing the consequences of that indifference and negligence.

Justice. Such a small word with such huge significance in our world today and throughout history. God cares about justice for all and as a Christian, so should I. Yes, there should be justice for those who have vandalized and looted during this time. But God will also mete out judgment on us as we have sat on the sidelines and allowed justice to be bypassed in favor of our prejudices.

It is time. Time for all of us who bear the name of Christians, to cry out for justice for those who are disenfranchised, beaten down by society, and told that they have no value. It is time for us to remember that Christ came to this earth to die for us so that we can live. ALL OF US, no matter what our skin color. It is time to remember that God values justice for all.

16 And I saw something else under the sun:

In the place of judgment—wickedness was there,
    in the place of justice—wickedness was there.

17 I said to myself, “God will bring into judgment
    both the righteous and the wicked,
for there will be a time for every activity,
    a time to judge every deed.”

Ecclesiastes 3:16-17 New International Version (NIV)

“Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, and plead the widow’s cause,” (Isaiah 1:17).

“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?” (Micah 6:8).

More scriptures about justice: Proverbs 24:24-25, Luke 18:1-8, Psalm 106:3, Proverbs 29:7, Leviticus 19:5, Psalm 33:5

The God Who Sees

This morning I listened to a song my friend had posted online and it reminded me that sometimes we women really do struggle with who we are and our circumstances. This is especially true right now during this COVID-19 outbreak and social isolation. Today I looked at some women in the Bible who seemed to reach the end of their rope as they faced trials and struggles. Let’s take a look at some of them.

She was a handmaiden, given to her master by his wife and finally felt of some worth. But then when she became pregnant, she was despised by her master’s wife, treated cruelly, and ran away to wander in the desert. Alone and afraid she wondered what would become of her and her unborn child. Did anyone really care?

She was a young widow in a place that no longer felt like home to her, even though it was where she had grown up. She followed her widowed mother-in-law to a new land, a new culture, a new religion, and a new way of life. They had so little. She gleaned in the fields after harvest so that she and her mother-in-law would have bread to eat. Did anyone care that she and her mother-in-law lived in poverty?

She was desperate to change her life. She had spent all that she had on doctors, hoping that just one of them could offer her hope of healing. And yet, her bleeding still persisted. Considered unclean, she was tired, anemic, and feeling hopeless. She had lost hope of having a normal life. 

She was so tired of feeling normal one moment and then saying and doing things she had no control over the next. She was an outcast, full of demons. There was no one to hug her, no one to touch her, no one to care. People deliberately walked around her, ensuring they weren’t close enough to be exposed to her, this woman so demon possessed. She lived a life filled with despair.

She came to gather water in the heat of the day. While all the other women came in the coolness of the morning, she was despised and looked down on. Her life was a shattered dream, and she looked for love in all the wrong places, hoping against hope that someone would just cherish her and love her. Why couldn’t someone just love her and stay in her life? Instead she found herself going from one husband to the next husband.

She was in a bad marriage and found someone who told her he cared about her, even though he was someone else’s husband. She was caught in adultery. Dragged into the village, surrounded by men and judged guilty and deserving of death. But the man she was with? Where was he? Why wasn’t he there? She stood silently and fearfully waiting for the first stone to be thrown. Who cared about her?

How about you? Are you feeling tired and anxious, unworthy and rejected, lonely and afraid? Have the persistent trials of life finally overcome your sense of optimism and hope? Have your chronic health issues become so overwhelming that you can no longer see the joy of life? Have your relationships failed you over and over again in your search to be loved?

Be encouraged. GOD SEES YOU. He knows your heart. He knows your needs. He has your name written on the palm of His hand. He knows the number of hairs on your head.

He delivered Hagar from the desert and promised that a nation would rise from the son she carried. (Genesis 16)

He provided a loving and faithful husband for Ruth, one who would also care for Naomi, her mother-in-law. Not only that but Jesus was a descendant of Boaz and Ruth. (The book of Ruth)

He healed the woman who was desperate enough to touch the hem of his garment, hoping to find healing there. (Mark 5:24-34)

He cast out seven demons from the woman who later is referred to as Mary Magdalene. She was one of the first to be told of Jesus’ resurrection. (Luke 8:2)

He listened to the woman at the well and reassured her that her life was worth more than she thought. He helped her recognize her need for God.  (John 4:4-42)

He reminded the men, who were crying out to stone the woman caught in adultery, of their own sin. He showed mercy to the woman, admonishing her to go and sin no more. (John 8:1-11)

We live in a world right now that is full of heartache, anxiety, and stress. Social isolation has managed to create anxiety in people who are normally easy-going and emotionally balanced. And in those who are already struggling, this time has increased the battles. But take heart. God sees you. He sees your needs and can meet you where you are.

This song by Nicole Mullin is a beautiful example of how God sees us. Take a minute and listen to is if you have time. And the next time you think you are forgotten, remember that GOD SEES YOU.

A Jar of OIive Oil

“Ordinary People – Extraordinary God.” That is the tag line for my website. Today as I was doing my morning devotion, I thought about what it means to be ordinary. Because quite frankly, the longer I live, the more I realize no one is “ordinary.” Each person has their own unique abilities and gifts, their own unique personalities, their own unique stories, and their own unique challenges and joys.

But so many people consider themselves ordinary. Even people I know who are highly talented and motivated, often look at themselves through a lens that shows them as ordinary or even lacking.

I believe that is when God can shine the brightest. When we may be at our lowest, or when we see our lack, that is the time that God can take our weakness and show his strength. Continue reading

Selective Forgetfulness

confused-lady-clipart-1Forgetfulness seems to be an unremitting part of my life. I wish I could claim it is just because I am growing old, but unfortunately, forgetfulness has been a constant companion throughout my life.

As a young child and teen, I would forget to do chores my mother asked of me, I would forget answers for tests I studied so hard for, and even forget to come to a complete stop at the stop signs. As a young woman I forgot to turn my clock, thus being an hour late for my own bridal shower, forgot to pick up my son from daycare, and forgot dentist appointments.  Even now my children and friends remind me that I shouldn’t forget . . . well, whatever it is I should remember. Continue reading

Election’s Over. Now What?

2016-electionAs I perused by my facebook comments this morning, depending on which side you were on, comments ran the gamut from disbelief and anger to celebration and jubilation. I have to confess I just feel dismay for the whole sorry debacle that was Election 2016.  As always in seasons of change there are opportunities that lie ahead for all of us. This is what I want people to take away after a season of often vitriolic and hate filled rhetoric from both sides. The only way we are going to “make this nation great again” is by working hard at a grassroots level. Every single individual needs to determine to make a difference. Here are my suggestions: Continue reading

Focus on Five – Things to do to minimize regrets

regretsTwo of the most recent events that have headlined the news for the past two weeks are the disappearance of Flight MH370 and the massive mudslide near Oso, Washington. Both of them are events that have left uncertainty, grief, and frustration for many. And once again, we are reminded of how fleeting our days can be.

When catastrophic events such as this happen, we are often forced to take a look at our own mortality. A life that is here today can be snuffed out quickly. I know this to be true. When my husband came home from work on October 27, 2009, he followed his regular evening routine as he went to the basement to lift weights. He never came back up those stairs, and met Jesus as his soul took flight from this earthly home. Continue reading

Visiting the Past

In preparation for getting my house on the market, I have been doing quite a bit of “purging” lately. Some things are easy to let go of, some are not. I am a real book junkie and have (literally) hundreds of books in my home. I gave away about 100 books to our youth minister, whose organized wife probably cringed when he brought them home!  I have donated many to the thrift store, but still have four bookshelves full of books! Even though I now put many of my books on my Kindle, I still love the feel of opening a book and perusing it’s pages, awaiting the marvelous things I discover within.

But I digress. What really started my thoughts going today is going through my “keepsake” box. You know, the kind that several of you have hidden away in the basement or stuffed in a cedar chest, or maybe in a drawer. The smell of old papers wafted to my nose as I opened the box. And so began the assault on my memories.

Continue reading