It was in the throngs of our own civil war when Abraham Lincoln was asked what side God was on. Please consider the division that led to this as brother had turned against brother, and sister against sister. Abraham Lincoln replied, “Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side. My greatest concern is to be on God’s side. For God is always right! “
Looking more globally the nationwide discourse around refugee resettlement has at times been discouraging. But again, my anger should be in solidarity with the people whose lives are actually at stake, who are fleeing war or persecution. My pride, and my desire to be right, to prove myself smarter than others in the debate, should not be a factor.
So ask yourself who is actually facing the threat. I’m not saying that it’s not you! I don’t know what you’re facing. But for me, the things that frighten about the world, and the things that stir up my righteous anger, I’m insulated from those things. Poverty, violence, discrimination, they’ve hardly touched me. I’m sheltered from those injustices, like Job’s useless friends, who I’ll get to in a moment. But so many others are like Job, praying for escape, praying to be hidden away until their trials have passed.
And now with all this craziness going on in the world. A black man being shot by a police man right here on a street I have driven down, policemen being shot by a sniper in Dallas, 80 plus people mowed down by a truck driver with a gun in France, a crazy political race for President. Friends with serious illnesses some even terminal. A thunderstorm followed by a wind storm doing damage to homes. Serious flooding in northern Wisconsin. Destitute families in Peru with no heat, little water and meager food supplies.
Why Job? Why does the Bible include this book of complaints?
I hear the voice of the servant that comes running to share the unimaginable. I hear the voice this week as we receive the news in our own community as Philando Castile is shot dead in a scenario where the hedge was breached a long time ago—and life lost through the hands of the one who was to be the protector. I hear the voice from the little girl in the backseat who tries to comfort her mommy saying, “It’s okay. I’m right here with you.” I hear the voice in the cries of the young son of Alton Sterling. I hear the voice as I see the scene unfold the shots begin to ring out—and as the protestors run for shelter, the police officers courageously run towards the gunfire. Protecting those protesting them. Protecting, twelve were shots and five died.
When I was first learning to ski—worse than the trying to learn how to stop—which for a long while was an uncontrollable fall– was getting off the ski lift– For at the same time my feet were beginning to touch solid ground, but my seat was planted firmly in the safety of a solid—yet moving bench… In there was that moment—that required transferring trust from my firmly planted seat—to my unconfident feet that were going to have to immediately go down a ramp— I remember the first time—in my hesitation—I couldn’t do it… and now I was back in the sky– with all yelling at me—and I jumped…