Written by Kathy Petersen, Senior Director of Adult Ministries
This past Sunday Mitchel and Christen helped us to look at God’s silence while in the valley. They invited us to take a look at the conversation between the prophet, Habakkuk, and God. (Stop and read Habakkuk — it is only three chapters) Habakkuk was perplexed that wickedness, strife and oppression were rampant in Judah but God seemingly remained silent and did nothing to change it. He asked God two questions and was somewhat puzzled by God’s responses as to how he would respond to all that he saw. Yet in the end Habakkuk chose to rest in God’s plan and provision (not without trembling) and to wait for God’s work in a spirit of worship. But he still served and spoke up in his role as a prophet in the wait.
When Mitchel asked Christen if she had ever experienced this extended time of God’s silence and wondered why God was not intervening to change it, she shared with us that it was when she observed sex trafficking and exploitation first hand in India and this country. And I absolutely agree with her and say Amen to that.
For me, the extended time of silence and wondering why God is not intervening to change it, is the systemic injustices based on race and oppression experienced by my black brothers and sisters in our country. I have been having many conversations with God about it — asking Him about his silence. And I have come to realize that although God might seem to be silent and aloof – He is always working for His kingdom glory through His people. So we need to understand that although God might seem silent, He is asking each of us to seek Him and to then act according to His gospel message.
If you are still trying to figure out where to begin, perhaps start with a simple request that David asked of God so many years ago in Psalm 139:23-24:
Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Confronting our own grievous ways is hard to do and our hearts can be ever so deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9). It is so easy to see the sin in others but often hard to see the sin in ourselves. As human beings we have perfected the use of justifications for our sinful actions. That is why we need to take it to the Lord to have Him search us and know our thoughts. (I don’t know about you, but when I stop to acknowledge that God knows all my thoughts it causes me to be very uncomfortable some days). While sin takes many forms and different ones for each of us, we all need to acknowledge and reckon with the understanding that when we do not show love to all of God’s image bearers (clothed in whatever skin color He ordained for them) in thought and/or deed, we sin. At the risk of calling it what it is ….racism is sin.
I am praying that God will engage you in the searching of your hearts. That He will reveal to you what you need to see and know about the sin of racism. While God might seem silent on this issue, He is working in each of us every day to draw us closer to His heart and His understanding of what Godly love looks and feels like for all people.