Earlier this week, I wrote a post about my experience as a Black woman in America; which actually stemmed from a conversation I had with a church friend. In the past week, I have had so many friends reach out to me who: were curious about my experience, wanted to educate themselves about the Black plight, and wanted to check in to see how I was doing. I am very happy that these conversations are happening and I pray that our words turn to action. And while on the larger scale, everything – the protests, awareness, visibility, conversations – are great, on the small scale, I struggled with my faith. And not where I didn’t believe in God, but where my reality was starting to overcome my belief in the Scripture.
Typically, I write a post half-way through the year, reflecting on my word of the year. My word for 2020 is faith and I have definitely been stretched in this area of my life. Not only has my perspective of faith changed, but I have had plenty of opportunities to exercise faith. For instance, coming into this year, I thought faith was all about believing that God would bless me in a certain way, at a certain time. However, I’ve learned that while I can plan for something (ex: paying off student loan), that God will fill in the details (Proverbs 19:21). And with the latest inhumane killing of a Black man at the hands of some immoral police officers, I’ve had opportunities to exercise my faith.
Before I begin on my faith journey, I want to say a couple of things upfront. I DO NOT believe that all police officers are immoral and racist. I DO NOT condone the looting and destruction caused by some protestors and agitators. And obviously, I DO NOT believe that all African Americans are thugs and criminals.
On Tuesday, I was driving to work in D.C. and when I got close to the border, I became really anxious and fearful. I began thinking of the worst case scenario that could happen to me with a police officer. I thought about who I would call and how I would capture the moment, just in case things went South. As I was on the edge of having a panic attack, I started repeating “for God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and sound mind”(2 Timothy 1:7). I wanted the verse to quell my fears, but I couldn’t help but think about the many African Americans who were using love and a sound mind during interactions with the police, and still met a tragic end.
I read the book of Lamentations the week prior and there was one thing that stuck with me. In the notes section of my Bible for chapter three, it read,
“God’s love and faithfulness never ceases. Just as God has been faithful in bringing judgment on Jerusalem for their sins, He would be faithful in bringing restoration to those who returned to Him.”notes For lamentations 3: 20-23
The notes revealed the perspective that many may have had, including myself, that God is only associated with good things. When in fact, we know God can use all things for our good, for those that love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). While God wants to bless us and help us to live our best lives, His biggest desire is for us to be in relationship with Him. So, He can use different things and events, such as COVID-19 and police brutality/misconduct, to bring us closer to Him. I’m not saying that He caused these things, but that He can use them (Isaiah 55:9). And personally for me, I have used this time to draw closer to God because He’s the only hope I have…to change the hearts of people that are hateful, ignorant, and selfish. Everything belongs to God (Pslams 24:1), so I have hope that the life of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmad Arbery and others will not be in vain, but will be a catalyst for change.
I still pray for peace and protection over the lives of African Americans each and everyday, just as I pray for peace and protection over the lives of police officers and their families. I will not be afraid, for God is with me wherever I go (Joshua 1:9). However, if I still meet a tragic end while showing love and sound mind, I hope that I would have made a difference in the lives of people around me. Jesus tells us that we will experience many trials and sorrows in life, but that we should take heart because He overcame the world (John 16:33). Basically, don’t worry because nothing is more powerful than God. So don’t be afraid; God gives us a peace that no one or nothing can take away (John 14:27).
If you want to stand up for justice, there are many ways you can help out. There are many petitions on change.org that you can sign and share with your friends/families. You can peacefully protest in person or virtually…just make sure to bring the proper supplies. You can donate to organizations that are providing supplies to peaceful protestors and posting their bail. You can have conversations with not just African Americans, but with people who are different from you. You can support Black owned restaurants and businesses in your community and online. And you can contact your local officials and urge them to change and eliminate discriminatory legislation and police practices. I know that everyone can benefit from a post like this; please share with everyone you know. Until next time…
Peace & Blessings,