Heal us, Emmanuel, here we are
We long to feel thy touch
Deep wounded souls to thee we fly
O Savior Hear Our Cry.
What a week it has been. It began on the heels of terror attacks in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, and Turkey. It has ended with men killed in Louisiana, Minnesota, and Texas. Today another officer was shot in Ballwin, Missouri. I do want us to resist our all-too-common first inclination: to have an answer. Your Facebook feed and your news outlet of choice may be full of people with explanations, criticisms, and directions, Be not idle or apathetic, but do be slow to speak. Stillness before God is not idleness, but humility regarding your own influence and submission to a God who can bring healing.
"Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger, for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness that God requires.' James 1:19-20
My quick answers do not admit my own failure to listen to people who are in pain. I speak as a white man who doesn't know what it is like to experience racism. I do not know what it is like to be held in suspicion by others because of the color of my skin. I have always been part of the privileged class. I do know others who have seen the world so differently from me, and what I can do, what ability I possess, is to be a listener. Black friends of ours, after the news a few days ago, confessed that they could not sleep. Why do their hearts ache like this? I want to sit with you and listen. Let's cry together.
Take the time to weep with those who weep, and there are many who weep this week all over our world. Go know someone who is different from you and just listen, not so that you can respond, in all your wisdom, but just to listen. Remember that when Jesus encountered the woman at the well in John 4, it was because he had to go through Samaria. He could have gone around Samaria, like everyone else did, to avoid those people, but he went there to sit and be with those people.
Oh, and yes, let us not forget, that you, no matter who you are, are those people. He sat with you in all your self-inflicted misery, in your sin, in all those ways they hate you, and heard your heart. He has given you a picture of a glory that is to come that is not yours by having all the answers, but by being a little crying baby in the arms of a great and mighty king. What do we do now? Go and do likewise.