I stayed up last night to watch the news with Sweet Husband. It was sad to see the destruction taking place in protest to the grand jury’s verdict in Ferguson, Missouri. To witness the destruction and pillaging of stores, businesses that did nothing but simply exist at Ground Zero of the protest. To hear the vile, hateful speech flowing uncensored out of our television and into our bedroom.
I rolled away from the TV and pulled the pillow over my head. I knew sleep would elude me as I replayed all this violence in my head, trying to make sense of it all.
Why did this happen?
Why was there so much HATE on display, not just in Ferguson but throughout the country?
I scrolled through posts on my Facebook newsfeed earlier today. More hate. More accusations. More …
I click the “I don’t want to see this” button when I read these. I’m not playing “ostrich” and burying my head in the proverbial sand. I know it’s out there, I see the ugliness that develops into this kind of hatred in its many different forms in the part of the city where I work. My heart cries and I ask:
Where, in any of this, is God being glorified? What am I doing to further His kingdom?
A dear friend wrote, “A sweeping, true Holy Ghost revival may be the only way to fix the brokenness rampant in our land. Lord, help us all! Praying for Ferguson…”
My Lifegroup is currently studying 1 Timothy. Talk about a Holy Spirit-driven, God-ordained divine appointment! We studied chapter 2 last week. Check this out:
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:1-4 [ESV] (emphasis mine)
Did you catch that? The church is called to pray for all people. I’m no theologian, but I’m thinking this also means we should be praying all the time for all people, not just when tragedy or violence rears it’s ugly head.
All this nastiness inside and outside the family of God can’t possibly be pleasing to Him.
And the irony? We celebrate Thanksgiving in a couple days. A day set aside to give thanks to the One who provided every good and perfect gift to us. A day to count our many blessings and to reach out to those in need with open hands of help, not clenched fists of fury against our neighbors who have truly done nothing wrong but to try to make a living.
So, what does this mean to me? I’m on break this week and so over the next few days, I commit to stepping out my front door and visiting my neighbors; to be “Jesus with skin on” to those around me. To be emotionally and physically present while we talk because I’ll never know their needs if I don’t stop to hear what they’re saying. And if I can’t help them fulfill their needs, perhaps I know someone who might know someone who can help.
What happened in Ferguson, and around the country last night, shouldn’t have happened. If I don’t want to see last night repeated on the evening news or in my neighborhood, I have to be a catalyst for change. Church, we’re called to pray for our neighbors as well as those in positions of authority.
We. are. all. called:
- To pray and turn from all the hate back to God,
- To serve in our communities in mighty or small ways,
- To love our neighbors so much they can’t help but see God loving them, calling them to Himself through us.
To pray, to serve, to love. If we do this, maybe … just maybe, revival will sweep over this land. Praying for the people of Ferguson, Missouri. Praying for us all.
if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. [2 Chronicles 7:14, ESV]