My word for 2020 was Uncover.
My goodness was that a prophetic word from the Lord. With each month that passed more was uncovered in my heart, in God’s plans for me and my family, in our country, and in the world. The desire to have “eyes to see and ears to hear” has echoed in my spirit for years, and God has certainly been faithful to respond to this repetitive breath prayer of mine.
We literally started the year worshipping into 2020 with some dear friends at a conference and then took a road trip to Montgomery, Alabama to visit some of the civil rights trail. We walked through the Legacy Museum, toured the Memorial for Peace and Justice, and fellowshipped at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church (where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. pastored from 1954-1960, pictured above). It was a rich, sobering, heavy yet empowering couple of days. We processed and prayed and processed in our praying.
The more we learn about the history of America, let alone the world, the more we realize we don’t know. We also have been confronted with the fact that our nation’s history is deeply enmeshed with our church and faith history as Christians. Have you read The Color of Compromise, yet?? If you haven’t, I highly, highly recommend it as a practice in lament, knowledge of self and knowledge of God, justice and mercy and hope. If you want more recommendations, I’d be happy to help. Anyways, back to Montgomery.
So, there we are having just consumed a ton of uncensored history on racism and white supremacy, and here’s what goes down next …
We drive back to Atlanta, drop off the rental car, and as we’re walking into the terminal we pass by a middle-aged white couple and the husband is wearing a MAGA hat.
I look him in the eyes with a look that pretty much tries to communicate the message, “I don’t approve of you” if I’m being brutally honest.
I was raw, folks.
That was one hundred percent the truth of my heart.
And then almost immediately after that, my spirit sighed with these words:
“Wow, Lord – I have so far to go.”
Why? Because if I truly believed that my judgement was true (that the man was complicit in white supremacy whether or not he knew it) then my heart *ought* to have responded in compassion and prayer. We had just worshipped in MLK’s church that very morning and received a word to spread love and peace as we pursue justice and mercy and humility. And, here I am throwing stones with my stares.
Cue the COVID pandemic, glaring racial injustices, and civil unrest that unfolds throughout the remainder of 2020, not to mention us moving our lives and family once again to a new place and space. As if I needed any more reminders that I am in desperate need of a Savior.
That the world is in desperate need of a Savior.
That the Church is in desperate need of a Savior.
As the hits kept on coming, my spirit felt battered and bruised. BUT GOD. He was and is and will always be my refuge.
I kept returning to the word God offered me at the start of the year – Uncover.
I felt like God was gently letting me know that this all is necessary. In order to be healed, it all needs to be revealed. I get it.
And, I leaned in. Again and again. I was exposed to the truth of my heart for the umpteenth time, the truth of the world’s brokenness and evil, and the Truth of God. And, He shaded me under His wings as I leaned into His very presence.
I wept for hours. I lamented our Church history. Once again, I grieved the pain and trauma so many of my friends and family have endured for generations. I listened. I had conversations – hard ones. I picked up another book. I picked up the Book. I prayed. I pleaded. I fasted. I related with safe friends who are humbly embarking on the same journey. And, I sought to do all of this with Him and in His strength, not my own. Cuz, Lord knows I would crumple under the weight in my own strength.
And, as days and weeks and months go by, I grow more aware and in my capacity to hold life in tension. And to hold the tension with and in Jesus.
Thank God He is a God of the process.
Also, Lord, have mercy on me a sinner.
I will close with a passage from Scripture that comes to mind and heart to encourage us all on this journey of formation as we encounter the evils of this world and fight ruthlessly to be lights in the darkness:
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. – Romans 12: 9-21
I encourage you to read it again, slowly.
These are marks of a Christian, friends.
If this were used as a measuring stick to asses the fruit of the Church, how would you say we are doing?
If this were used as a measuring stick to assess the fruit of your life, how would you say you are doing?
I wonder if your spirit echoes along with me, “Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
Grace & Peace,