A Time to Mourn

There’s blood in their streets.

I see the little boy Omran in Syria with a bloodied face in shock. I see two boys hugging and wailing, mourning the loss of the brother. But that’s there. It’s not on my turf. That’s ISIS’s fault.

Except there’s blood on our street too—my street—here, in civilized America—land of the free and home of the brave.

Can we take a moment to mourn?

If all lives matter equally, then pause a moment to contemplate the gravity of what happened: an innocent man was needlessly killed. His family never will be able to hug him again. He will not finish his degree. He will never sing again in his church choir.

This was not a woman by herself acting in self-defense, afraid of a man bigger than her. There were four officers. I don’t care if he was on every drug known to man—there was no need to kill.

I’m not a very empathetic person. I know a couple people who I suspect might be Highly Sensitive Persons, and it amazes me how they just feel the pain of others. But I do believe in deliberate empathy through intentional imagining. It’s not fake; it’s sought.

If you, like me, are white, try to put yourself in the shoes of the black community. If that is too abstract, try putting yourself in the shoes of Terence Crutcher’s wife or twin sister or child.

Imagine the one who was supposed to protect you and your family killing your father.

Imagine being scared of acting imperfectly in public, scared for your life.

Imagine being angry at the person who used the terminal option when she didn’t have to.

Imagine being sad. He should be here, and he’s gone, and you loved him.

I can’t imagine, which is exactly why I need to try to.

**I have a lot more thoughts about this issue that I will eventually try to address more, but in my experience dealing talking with individuals in the anti-black-lives-matter camp, the main thing lacking (ironically in an abundance of emotion) is empathy.**

Advertisements

Thank You, Father

Sometimes God amazes me. Oftentimes God amazes me.

This week started off with an off-the-charts “meh” level. I was stressed about school, anxious about life, and feeling very lonely. A few days ago I thought to myself: I cannot live like this. I could not make it through this semester if nothing changes. I need more of God.

I don’t always like to draw a direct cause and effect link between these things, but last week I was not spending enough time with the Lord, especially in the Word. I’m fairly sure that had some effect ton why I was feeling so down and anxious. While I was praying about my anxieties, I wasn’t listening to God’s words in Scripture.

So the next morning I woke up and put aside the excuses. It didn’t matter if the house was burning down, I was going to read the Bible. I don’t think it was really the checking of the “read Bible” box, but it was the turning toward God and relying on Him that changed my outlook—saying, “Your face, Lord, do I seek.”

Perhaps what amazes me most is how God prepares me and refines me through trials. A week ago I posted about how God always holds my hand. It was inspired, as I mentioned, by someone else’s hardship, and yet even as I posted it to my blog, I was beginning to realize how much my heart needed to hear that message. I believe God is always with me, holding my hand in the valley of the shadow of death which is this life. But I want to share a couple ways God “squeezed” my hand to remind me of this in the last 24 hours.

  1. Financially – There’s a good chance I will have a free place to stay when I’m traveling for a wedding in a few weeks. I was getting a little worried as I was searching for hotels earlier this week, but I think I now have another option. It’s not 100% settled yet, so I’m continuing to pray through this, but it was the greatest relief.
  2. Relationally (a) – I was sad that a particular friendship seemed to have ended, and I was praying for some sort of reconciliation, and yesterday, I saw concrete progress in that direction.
  3. Relationally (b) – I am absolutely overjoyed right now because I just learned that at aforesaid wedding, I will get to see a dear friend whom I’ve not seen in over a year!

And now, I’m off to finish my writing assignment for what I’m sure will be a long night (early morning), and yet, even in this, I’m encouraged as I was reminded today about where my identity is (not in academics):

Thank you, Father,
That whatever I do,
To the heights I’ll reach,
To the lows I’ll fall,
When the As become Cs or the Cs become As
When the undesirable becomes desired,
Then returns to ugly again,
My identity is secure above
As beloved, child of the Most High God.

Let Me See (a hymn?)

For several years now I’ve had an interest in hymn writing. I haven’t quite mastered the art like I seek to, but I’ve dabbled. A little over a year ago, I gave it a go with the inspiration in an artistic Bible study. We were given a Bible passage (Mark 10:46-52) to meditate on for the week to see if it inspired us to create any form of art. So many things stood out to me in the passage, most all of which are addressed in my attempt at a hymn. My friend later helped me add chords to the words, though the current melody I use does not sound like a traditional hymn. I’m very open to others adding different melodies as one benefit of hymns is that with their consistent meters it can be easier to apply different tunes.

Speak, oh weak one, cry for mercy
Shout in faith that God will come
For the Lord so loves to listen
And restore the broken one

“Give me eyes and let me see you!
Make my body whole again
Give me eyes and let me see you!
Make my spirit well within.”

Let the world not overpower
Let the many back away
Jesus longs to hear the humble
Let the weak one have his say

“Give me eyes and let me see you!”
Cries the weak one to the Lord.
“Give me eyes and let me see you!
Make me pure forevermore.”

Come, oh weak one, run to Jesus
Throw aside the weight of sin
Faith has healed the blind man, jumping
Faith will let you live again

“Give me eyes and let me see you!”
Eager trusting in His name
“Give me eyes and let me see you,
Healer God, who cures the maimed.”

Go, and follow after Jesus
Eyes now open, watch His way
With His mercy, heart rejoicing
Always trust Him and obey

“Give me eyes and let me see you!
Make my body whole again.
Give me eyes and let me see you!
Make my spirit well within.”

He always holds my hand

I know God promises to never leave me or forsake me. Yet sometimes, I want a reminder. The doubt becomes too much. The struggle becomes too much. And I ask God to make His love real to me. I ask Him to show His face to me.

The other day a Facebook friend was struggling and posted on Facebook asking for prayer. So many people responded with genuine comments and prayers. Those things—little things—prayers, verses, sermons, songs, or uplifting words of a friend can be the beautiful signs of love God shares with us.

~~~

He always holds my hand,
But sometimes I need a squeeze
To remind me that He’s there
While looking after me

Promise still enduring
To be with me to the end
My ever-present Savior
My ever-faithful friend

He always holds my hand,
But sometimes I need a squeeze
To remind me that He’s kind,
And tenderly He sees.

His love still effecting,
To relieve my restless heart
My ever-gentle Savior,
I know, will not depart.

He always holds my hand
But sometimes I need a squeeze
To remind me that He reigns
Sovereign o’er my needs.

His hope still persisting
To subdue my mind’s despair.
My ever-winning Savior
Still holds my hand with care.

Psalm 27

A poem inspired by Psalm 27.

Fearless is defined by Him,
The stronghold of my life.
Trials increase day by day,
But in the Lord I hide.

One thing I do ask and seek
To dwell within His house.
To gaze upon His radiance—
What beauty all around.

Carefully conceal my soul.
Lift me onto the rock.
Safe, I sing with joy to Him
For He forsakes me not.

Earnestly, I seek Your face.
Forgive me for my sins.
Undeserving, even still,
The Lord will take me in.

Waiting heart, courageous heart,
I know His good shall come.
Life will be the epilogue—
Eternal home with God