Manda's Musings

Lord, I have hope, help my hopelessness….

Baltimore City Mural, photo cred. Bruce Emmerling

I wrote the following as a very lengthy comment to a friend’s Facebook status a few weeks ago. This friend shared her desire to raise her white sons responsibly as it relates to the issue of race in this country.

“Thank you Mendy. I’ve looked at much of the dialogue around this young man’s murder and I’ve avoided letting myself feel it all at once because deaths like these always hurt. They hurt like pictures of lynchings and slave auctions. Other murders hurt too but in my mind, murders that occur  related to race hurt in a different way because of the attack on the unique way God has created us. Different on purpose and all in His image. It’s hard to understand how a group of people can always carry the scars of our place as image-bearers being denied, but we do. And we’re reminded of it more often than we even think about or care to mention. Many won’t understand and honestly I get why they don’t get it. If I were a white person with my own issues and struggles that I’d overcome or white with black friends who seemed to be successful without concern about racism, I might be blinded to the reality we live in. I don’t know. Maybe I’m blinded to how my white friends feel so I want to have the hard conversations with grace and truth. My husband and I are college educated & live comfortable lives. That doesn’t change the fact that we still get the suspicious looks in some stores or that I have concerns for his safety when he takes long walks or is late coming home. It doesn’t change the fact that he’s an RN & a gentle soul that has to be ever so careful that he never appears threatening in any way to others. I still cry when I hear the song “We Shall Overcome”, because it reminds me that one day my toddler will know all the horrors of how we came to be African-American & why she questions her beauty in that specific way that is only known to little black girls. There are things that people just won’t get. Like, while my identity is found in Christ, I have an ache in my heart that longs to know what country or tribe I am a descendant of. I don’t want anyone to feel guilty or responsible. The history of this country is what it is, the good and bad. The layers of racism that the systems are steeped in are masked to many so I’m glad we try and try we must. But we’re gonna be fighting this fight until Jesus returns.”

My friend’s post received mostly supportive responses.  She shared that she is raising white sons, in a Christian household, in the south. She shared her desire to “resource them to live counter to the cultural narrative that says as white Christian men, they have some type of moral authority”.  She even shared her efforts to do her own heart work by asking her friends of color for guidance in her efforts. There were those who pushed back in offense at her using the term, “the oppressor”. When really she meant it as a historical fact, not as a personal attack on her friends and family.

There’s always a “My skin color does not equal privilege”, an “All Lives Matter”, or an “I don’t see color” in the crowd. By the way, if you say those things, please stop. I’m not going to explain why. Just Google it.  The reason I’m writing is to come clean.

There’s truth in the statement that “we’re gonna be fighting this fight until Jesus returns”. But that last sentence of my Facebook comment was me throwing up my hands. My “Jesus take the wheel”. I was tired after hearing about what happened to Ahmaud Arbery and how the case was handled. Then I was even more tired after reading some of the comments on my friend’s post. I’ve always believed in the fight for unity and racial reconciliation. But in that moment I was thinking, “this is never going to change”. Surprisingly, in the midst of the sadness and anger this week, I had an epiphany, or rather I was reminded of something. This week, the outcry for justice after the killing of George Floyd by a police officer, inspired me to hope in the midst of hopelessness. Why is there an expectation of justice? Because this is the great United States of America!? No, because God is a God of justice. We often look like a godless nation these days. But we want justice because the very nature of God is imprinted on our being. Even when the hope for justice  becomes numb, something revives it. Then, like wildfire, it spreads. The longing for justice cannot be erased in us so don’t try to silence our voices. Don’t try to silence voices that are loud and angry. If you are a loud voice in the face of injustice, bear with your neighbor in love if they are not loud or angry. 

This week, as I read in Genesis 16 about Hagar calling God, “El Roi” in the midst of her suffering, I was reminded that God is the God who sees me. While we cry out to be seen, heard, valued; He sees us. The God of justice sees us, feels our pain, will comfort and will execute justice.

” Then I heard a loud voice from the throne: Look, God’s dwelling is with humanity, and he will live with them. They will be his peoples,and God himself will be with them and will be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; grief, crying, and pain will be no more, because the previous things have passed away.”

Revelation 21:3-4

 

2 thoughts on “Lord, I have hope, help my hopelessness….”

  1. Manda, I am so glad to be subscribed to your blog. This was very moving and I feel blessed to have gotten to hear your heart in such a time as this. I am hoping and praying alongside you. Desperately wishing things were different and asking God to intervene through His people, myself included. God truly does see you and your awesome husband and precious daughter. You are fearfully and wonderfully made in His image and for His glory. I love you. Mary

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Mary for following, as sporadic as my posting is. And thank you for fighting the fight for unity by just listening and being present in the discussion and also in the lives of people of color. Love you my friend.

      Like

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