the elephant in the room: Where is God?

photo-1515162305285-0293e4767cc2Can I be honest?

I’ve agonized for a few days now over the right thing to post. Words feel a little scary right now. I’m tempted to tell you that this past week has felt heavy for me; but I’m far too aware that for so many of my friends , they’ve lived with this kind of racial heaviness their whole lives. For that, I am so, so sorry.

Truly, what is going on in the world right now is not new. Heartbreak, loss, injustice and suffering are not a result of the year 2020. Just because it hasn’t always been accessible at the touch of our thumbs doesn’t mean it is just now occurring. But I’ve learned that maybe even if I don’t have the exact right words – imperfection is better than silence.

I don’t want to spit out tweet-able phrases. I’m afraid that most of the time, we’ve reduced our education and our opinions to be based off of a quote or a meme someone else has shared and sounds like it could be right. I want the Truth. Anyone else?

It feels like the world is on fire. In some cities, this is a current reality. People are still dying from a virus. Our country feels more divided than I’ve experienced in my lifetime. I made the mistake of reading some comments on some well-known Instagram accounts I follow last night. It brought me to tears. Much of the Church is misrepresenting the heart of God.

So, God – where are you?

I assure you, He is here.

“The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; He utters His voice, the earth melts.

The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”

[Psalm 46:6-7]

He is here, and He knows.

He knows that you’re a black person in America right now, struggling to find your voice or wondering if it even matters at all.

He knows you are a white Christian, longing for peace and justice but feeling lost with how to go about it.

He knows you’re still walking around in fear about your health and the state of the world.

Although the world feels like it’s burning and covered in masks and signs, your presence, your purpose and your pain have not for one moment escaped God’s notice.

What’s happening in our country right now only confirms what God’s been trying to reinforce all along: love. Love your neighbor. You have no idea what they’ve been through. The truth is, if you’ve never experienced the death of a family member – you listen to those who have. If you’ve never experienced abuse – you listen to those who have. You are not the authority on things you’ve never experienced.God has called us to choose the side of Truth, and to listen to those who have authority over this particular pain called racism.

Here is where we’ve mixed up the truth and the character of God: He has never been either/or.

He is not love OR justice.

He is not peace OR truth.

He is not righteous OR forgiving.

He is all of it. Holy. Righteous. Peace. Joy. Just. Forgiving.

Therefore, I can be loving and fight for justice. I can pray for peace and stand up against abuse.

For those of us in the world right now who are broken and wounded: He is standing with you.

And for those of us who feel just a little bit stuck: our response to the pain of the world and our brothers and sisters should be the same of every other confusing or painful experience:

Search me, God, and know my heart;

test me and know my anxious thoughts.

See if there is any offensive way in me,

and lead me in the way everlasting.

[Psalm 139:23-24]

Not one time in the Bible does God implore us to point fingers or assign blame. God is here. He is present. The question is: are we?

Our God is an advocate, a counselor, and a listener. Are we?

Our God is a friend; patient and loving. Are we?

The reality is that the perfect blog post or the most outspoken words will not change the world. The world changes when we look in the mirror and give permission to our Creator to be honest with us. Have we been too silent? Have we been too loud? There is no one right way around this. We must speak up and we must seek God in the silent places. We must do the hidden, hard work and we must let it begin with allowing God to be truthful with what He sees in our own hearts.

With an open heart to love our neighbors as ourselves – now, that’s a new beginning and a road paved toward healing.

 

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’               There is no commandment greater than these.”

[Mark 12:30-31]

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