Dear Christ Followers,
Our streets are burning with the fire of grief. There is a deep sorrow which has ripped open a wound that has never healed properly. It is raw and gapping and exposed. In ancient days, there would have been the tearing of clothes, there would have been sackcloth and ashes. There would have been mourners, going before, weeping and wailing. There would have been loud lament for what was lost. There was a process for grief, a releasing of the pain, a period of mourning.
My eyes are watching this outcry, and my heart is hurting. My tears flow like rain into rivers. The grief in my chest is heavy. The sorrow rests like a rock on my heart. I recognize this pain. I have felt it before. It is the conviction of the Holy Spirit. If you are feeling it too, this post is for you. If you don’t know what I am talking about, move along. You can stop reading now, because these words will be a waste of your time.
It has been established that the times we are living in are unprecedented. A pandemic shut down the whole world. Everyone, everywhere, has lost something. Some have lost life, others livelihood. Then we have been shut up inside, with ourselves. Trying to make the best of it, but having to come face to face with the mirror.
The division in our country has deepened. The anger has welled up. The name calling. The finger pointing. Taking sides against one another. The frustration and pressure have been building. Then Ahmaud. Then George. Death is dancing. Boldly taunting. Sickening silence. Heart wrenching grief. Now protests and riots. Now hot anger on all sides. Now fire. Now heat. Now the crack has become a wide crevasse. Seemingly, too wide to cross.
Confusion, fear, irritation, pride, impatience, anger, testiness have been simmering for weeks and centuries. Now they are mixed together at a rolling boil. They are spilling over into the streets. Superiority flows. It is met with hate. It is met with disdain.
Sin is ugly. It is messy. But it must be exposed. It must be shown for what it is.
In this volatile environment, I find myself uncomfortable. Defensive even. However, sorrow is the bigger emotion. It is a deep piercing of my heart. Beyond words. I am a part of the problem and my heart knows it. My mind does not fully grasp what that means yet, but my heart is weeping. Conviction is never easy. It requires admission of guilt. It requires waking up. Opening my eyes to realize my responsibility in the present circumstances. My ignorance. My lack of understanding. Recognizing my heart is not aligned with God’s on this matter. I have misrepresented him, and it hurts me to know I have hurt his heart.
The only thing I can do is to repent. To express my remorse. To turn and walk another way. To commit to God and to people of color that I will dig deeper into my blindness and look for the truth. I will open myself up for correction. I will expose myself and my sin, so that it can be healed. I will bring it out of the dark and into the light of God’s grace, so he can teach me his ways.
My God is the God of reconciliation. It is who he is. If you break the word reconcile down to all its parts, it means to bring together again. He went to great lengths to restore me to himself and he will always seek to do so. He also restores relationships between myself and others if I will let him. It is the great mystery which is right out in the open for all to see. Christ in us, the hope of glory.
Reconciliation always comes before revival. Always. To bring life back into something, first the death has to be removed. Only God can do that. He shows me what sin looks like and what it leads to. Then he shows me where it resides in me. I acknowledge it and he cuts it out. It is not of my own strength. Never can be. He heals hearts. Reconciliation is resurrection of relationships. With him. With each other. Then…and only then…will new life appear. Revival is birthed in times of conviction and repentance. In seasons of waiting and prayer, fire comes…and purifies…then the power.
And there is great power here, in this difficult time. Jesus said it. “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses everywhere you go.” It was the birth of the church then, and now again, there is a purifying fire and power given to us. It is a gift. Power to overcome. Power to reconcile. Power to unite. Power to see what he sees, in each other.
There is hope for the future. Hope for new life in new ways. For ALL of us, together. Currently, the spotlight is on the deep divides. It is shining light on our hearts. God is offering to do a healing work. The question is, will we let him?
God, please do your work in my heart. I want to love like you do. I want to see through your eyes. I want my heart to be like yours. In this time, show me how. I repent. My heart is broken for this situation. It is hurting. I feel your conviction in my spirit. Help me to walk in your footsteps and not my own. Lead me in your ways. I want to bring life to those around me. With my words and with my actions. Show me how. Help me to unlearn the things that are not aligned with your heart. Help me to know the difference between my thoughts and yours. Show me your truth. Thank you for the fire, even when it is hard to see. Thank you for the pain, even when it hurts. Thank you for exposing, convicting, and reviving my heart. Breathe your life into me. In the name of Jesus I bring it all to you and lay it at your feet. Amen.