We don’t know what to do.
I don’t know what to do.
I don’t know what to say to my friends, whose skin is black, whose souls are hurting, whose world is turned upside down again by the senseless deaths of two black young men. My friends who fear being stopped by the very people who have sworn to protect and serve them. My friends who continue to reel from racism.
And I don’t know what to say to my friends who are in law enforcement, or who have spouses, children, and loved ones who are serving to protect us each and every day. Who place themselves in terrifying situations so as to make the world a bit safer for the rest of us. Who never know, when they put on their blues and their badges in the morning, if they will be returning that evening–or will find themselves in a hospital.
Or a morgue.
Like the 5 policemen executed in Dallas last night.
I don’t know what to do and I don’t know what to say. I don’t know how to react when I read Facebook posts from pastors I know, such as the following:
Thugs back out on the streets again shooting police and screaming vulgarity. Make no mistake, God is on Law Enforcements (sic) side (Romans 13). Jesse Jackson incited all this and has blood on his hands.
Pastors such as the author of the words above, who think it is not sinful to refer to all protesters as “thugs”, and then dare to use scripture to justify their response, as if it was written for white, privileged America.
And I don’t know what to do or say or how to react to the small group of protesters who made a conscious choice to respond to violence with violence in Dallas last night. Or who chose to respond to Ferguson last year, with looting and vandalism, and destruction of their own cities.
Nothing. Makes. Sense.
Chaos. Grief. Lament.
God, why is chaos seemingly allowed to rule and reign? Do you see? Do you know? Are you with the children—black and white children–whose daddies are not coming back home again?
We look to you, God, because we know you are the only hope for this hurting world. For our hurting country. For our hurting cities. And for the hurting families. You are the only hope we know.
Please, do not be silent.
Please forgive us, for our hatred. For our judgemental-ism. For our self-centeredness. For our rush to pronounce our own opinions as the “right” opinions. Forgive us when we do not preach your word from pulpits, but instead preach politics. Forgive us when we do not reach across our man-made racial divides to grasp the hands of our brothers and sisters–of all races–to show compassion and love. Forgive us when we sit in our houses and throw barbs designed to make us look smart and superior, when all that does is take away from your glory.
How you must weep. Or, if you do not weep (because, truly, who can know the mysteries or the depths of your emotions, God?), then how you must burn with holy, righteous anger.
We do not understand such suffering, God. We do not understand your sovereignty, either. And, we do not understand why you tarry.
We long for home, for this is not our home.
We ache, and we hope, because you are our only hope. And you are our only home. And you are the only answer to this sea of chaos that surrounds us.
So we turn our faces to heaven. And we turn our faces to the floor. We weep with those who weep. We mourn with those who mourn. And we say, “There will be a day.” Because scripture is truth. And you are God. And you never forsake or abandon.
But even though these are truths, we need to sense your very real presence today. Please. Help us to know that you are near, because only through you allowing us to sense you, do we find some modicum of peace.
“Look, O Lord, for I am in distress;
my stomach churns;
my heart is wrung within me,
because I have been very rebellious.
In the street the sword bereaves;
in the house it is like death.
21 “They heard my groaning,
yet there is no one to comfort me.
All my enemies have heard of my trouble;
they are glad that you have done it.
You have brought[g] the day you announced;
now let them be as I am.
22 “Let all their evildoing come before you,
and deal with them
as you have dealt with me
because of all my transgressions;
for my groans are many,
and my heart is faint.”