Every time I get a chance to read about how my passport country is doing, it is difficult to digest. Division seems to rule the day. One friend genuinely fears for her safety as a young single mother of two, afraid to walk her city. Another friend is marching across the landscape with her children, trying to be heard – trying to ensure their future safety. Online, people post cheap shots in both directions and true listening is elusive. Last night on a main-stream news from Wisconsin, two men from opposing sides faced off on the street. In the clip, one man shouts, “I just want a real dialogue!” When his ‘enemy’ responds, he shouts over him. They both shout over each other. Neither hears the other. Neither is listening to the other.
My Scripture reading of the day included Zephaniah 3:
“What sorrow awaits rebellious, polluted Jerusalem, the city of violence and crime!
No one can tell it anything; it refuses all correction.
It does not trust in the LORD or draw near to it’s God.
Its leaders are like roaring lions hunting for their victims.
Its judges are like ravenous wolves at evening time, who by dawn have left no trace of their prey. Its prophets are arrogant liars seeking their own gain.
Its priests defile the Temple by disobeying God’s instructions.
But the LORD is still there in the city, and he does no wrong.
The remnant of Israel will do no wrong;
they will not tell lies or deceive one another.
They will eat and sleep in safety,
and no one will make them afraid.”
Whatever the current state of your city, whatever the current chaos in the media, whatever your level of fear, perceived or real… there is hope. The LORD is still there in the city. He is where you are. And He promises a time when we can eat and sleep in safety when no one will make us afraid. It may not happen right here, right now. We may have to wait for eternity for that much peace, but there is HOPE now because we have the LORD with us in the city.
In the meantime, I pray Zephaniah’s ancient words of Truth for the Church: that we would not tell each other lies, that we would not deceive one another, that we would obey God, humbly accepting correction.
Listening to one another.
1 Peter 4:8 “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”
In this song When It Was Over, Sara Groves sings this verse after a fight between husband and wife, but I think it can easily apply to any division in human relationships.
There is a Hope.
There is a Love.
Even in current events.
P.S. Some of you may remember how roses remind me of HOPE from a post in 2009.
Well, this week we planted our first roses in Cameroon!