“You go before I know that you’ve even gone to win my war...”
Good Afternoon Church! I will keep my greetings short today as I have handed over our Journal entry today to Lesley. Before church last weekend during our prayer time, we were sharing about what we felt Jesus saying to us over the past week. And what Lesley shared impacted me greatly – the way she brought her frustration and pain before the Lord and invited Him to speak into it… the heart of love that came through… Christ shining through her… I was very moved. So I asked if she wouldn’t mind sharing with you today. I trust you will be blessed and encouraged, as I was. Here are her thoughts and accompanying song. Thank you so much Lesley for allowing us a window into your journey with the Lord in this.
My wrestle with Jesus looked like a different kind of fight this week.
We live in the age of too much information but not enough all at once. Every hour we see something new – another headline, another update, a perpetual stream of news. One week ago today I read what I still have not been able to digest: “Black US man dies after officer pins him down.” Accompanied by a horrifying video. An innocent man murdered because of the colour of his skin. I stared blankly, mortified. You don’t have to be up-to-date on the latest trending topics to know that there are still large groups of people who face oppression based on the colour of their skin. The injustice in that is devastating. Little did I know, that same headline would be the flame to spark a global movement.
Today, there are protests across the globe. All 50 states of America have seen protests for justice. It’s international – New Zealand, London, Berlin, Germany, Spain. There are riots across the nations, cities on fire, all in the name of a movement widely known as “Black Lives Matter.” But what does justice look like?
I began to search my heart, my soul, my mind – wondering what my role is to play in this picture; feeling like I had the weight of the world on the tip of my tongue. A rush of emotion I had never experienced to this extent – suddenly it felt as if I had suffered the injustice myself. The inside of me screaming, as if it were my own family member that had died at the hand of discrimination. I felt like I needed to fight. Like I needed to be the one standing at the front line of a protest. Wondering: How do I respond in a way that will make a difference? Searching for Jesus, begging for answers to the violent injustice that an entire race has had to endure for centuries. A people marginalized, oppressed, exploited. Surely, there has to be a better answer than to light cities ablaze, than to aimlessly destruct.
Then I remember that my Jesus was oppressed. He was hated, ridiculed, mocked. His ministry is flooded with the outcast, the unclean, the unwelcomed. The heart of God is found in the least of these. If anyone understands injustice, its Him. If anyone knows suffering, you will find it over and over again in his human experience until he was executed to an innocent death himself. So what is a worthy response to the injustice? Is there one? The only worthy response is to love. Because loving God means loving people. His love is all inclusive. It’s the only answer that makes sense across every board.
I respond with love, every single time – to both the oppressed and the oppressors. I love my enemies, even when it feels impossible. I have to choose love, I have no other choice. Responding with violence only breeds more violence. It will only serve to divide us further. We forgive the unforgivable, because that’s what my Jesus who hung on a cross did for me. We extend the hand of the Father to every people. We listen. Endure. Stand with. Fight for. Uphold. Defend. Be a voice to the voiceless. Weep with those who weep. To show up to the fight even when it’s uncomfortable and difficult. To see others through the lens of our Creator.
We practice what was set in motion thousands of years ago on a cross – a manifestation of the kind of love that covers all. And finally, I must partner with the only worthy Defender to fight the battle that was never mine or ours to begin with. I surrender my own feelings and perception as to what serving justice looks like. I trust in a Father who declares that every soul is fearfully and wonderfully made in His image. Worthy of love. Equality.
In the face of our distraught world, may I continually take from the example of Jesus and apply it to the now-more-than-ever-relevant-times. May I continue to draw from the Father’s heart to extend a love that covers a multitude of sins. May I open my perspective to be shifted by listening to the stories of the broken. May Jesus create in me a space to uphold the least of these.
“Defender” by Rita springer is my sobering reminder when I get lost in the fighting. It grounds me in the truth that my praise is my weapon. That it starts and ends with surrender. May this song bring you back to the truth that Jesus is our Defender.Lelsey Tan
You’re a God who makes things right, giving justice to the defenseless.Psalm 103:6 TPT