I've been silent on the blog for quite awhile now. Honestly, I have struggled to find words to describe the heartache I feel for our world right now. Each morning I wake up to news alerts on my phone reporting another violent event in our world. A killing spree in Orlando, cops targeting black lives, people retaliating against cops, an explosion in France, a bombing in Kabal, a coup in Turkey....another day, another tragedy. It's been a constant in life.
Meanwhile I'm over here just trying to write a blog series dedicated to separating the sinner from sin, a blog dedicated to loving those different than you, those with sins that look different than your sins. Love the sinner, hate the sin. And yet I found myself at a loss for words because it seemed hate was winning.
And then we have the 2016 Presidential election and just American politics in general. Hate is so woven into our political landscape it is hard to find truth in anyone's political platform. Compared to the hate and violence occurring across the globe, our political hate is...I guess it's just petty. However, it is so ugly and grotesque, it really discourages me. I'm tired of seeing hate towards Democrats. I'm tired of seeing hate towards Republicans. I'm tired of seeing hate towards Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. We are all to blame for the mess we are in and step one just might be ceasing all hatred and finding some way to unify. However, this hate is nothing...NOTHING... compared to the lives being lost across our world.
This overwhelming feeling of hatred is interfering with my ability to find the words to motivate and inspire others in their faith. And honestly (in a spirit of transparency), there have been moments where I feel hopeless and discouraged. However...I am finding hope. In Isaiah.
Who's Isaiah you ask? Isaiah was a prophet in the Old Testament and he wrote a rather large, complicated book in the bible. It's one of those books I hope my pastor doesn't teach from because I fear I will immediately 'zone out' in confusion. It's just so confusing and historical in nature but I recently decided to put my big girl panties on and tackle it. Yep, I'm really reading through Isaiah. It takes me several days to understand a single chapter at time but I'm slowly working my way through it. Let me be clear about my expectations for the book of Isaiah. I thought I would find a bunch of boring history and read about predictions that have since then come true. And although I do have to sift through history and I use about 3-4 other books to understand each chapter of Isaiah, it has given me hope in the midst of our current world. God's timing of leading me to the book of Isaiah is nothing short of perfect (Note: it took A LOT of motivation because the Old Testament just isn't my bread and butter. It's more like soggy, moldy bread to me. Sorry God. This girl will always love the New Testament). Well apparently moldy bread is exactly what I needed. It's how I have found hope for our country and hope for our world. The book of Isaiah is rescuing me from discouragement.
Why? Because Isaiah (at least part of it) was written during a time when the people of Judah and Jerusalem were far, far from God. The first several chapters of this book alternate between descriptions of judgement and descriptions of blessings. If you read only the descriptions of judgement, you would see many similarities to our world. The deep rooted evil and the hate was equally, if not more, palpable in Judah and Jerusalem. But the Lord promised to wash away the filth and cleanse His people. He sent Jesus to save them (and us!).
Isaiah 9: 2, 6-7
2. The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness, a light has dawned.
6. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.
Jesus returned to earth to save the people from darkness. And to save US from our darkness. And His reign is forever. The peace is everlasting. So although it feels like hate is winning...it is not. Jesus is still our King. The darkness of this world will eventually fade away and we will have a peace that surpasses our understanding. His grace is enough.
So here's my advice....don't let hate win. If you have faith, stand tall in your faith and realize hate doesn't win in the end. This ugly, horrific battle we are in right now...has already been won. There's no room for worry. There's no room for fear. There's only reason to trust God and honor the hope we have in Him.
"...If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all."
Violence, elections and HOPE,
Just a few reflections about everything God is teaching me in this life...a journey deeper into His purpose for my life.