I want to take a moment to layout some heartfelt words to men and women who identify themselves as African-American, African American, Black, or American (I will refer to these men and women forward as AAB). These have been a tough couple of weeks with the recent events of Ferguson, the just released announcement from the New York City grand jury concerning the death of Eric Garner, and what would appear as a genuine lack of sympathy for our concerns.
I get it. When voices try to raise concerns about systemic issues that impact our community the responses seem heartless, unsympathetic, and paternalistic comments of "Fix your own sh@!" I also get that there are some in our AAB community who are opportunistic and their methods have been detrimental to common senses voices. I don't think there is a man or woman in the AAB community that denies the presence of problems unique to the community that require addressing.
See I firmly believe there is this unspoken desire for those other than our ethnicity to truly sympathize and grieve with us. We want people to grieve with us. We want people to agonize over our losses and difficulties at the same level of grief and lament when Israel is bombed or a US Ambassador is killed at an embassy in some far flung country.
At the same time, I know that these past two weeks have severely tested my metal and belief to love humanity. I have become angry and discouraged because it appears people are not listening. Our perspective and experiences are rationalized away without even a desire to honestly embrace with sympathy. Our perspective and our hurt seems to diminish under conversations that offer no semblance of humanizing or sympathizing. So I ask myself, "What am I suppose to do with this?"
Earlier, a young AAB woman posted on my social media that she felt hopeless. This singular statement broke my heart. There is nothing more heartfelt to hear that a person feels that a new reality will not arrive. Hopelessness is an ever increasing possibility that the AAB experience in America will always be retarded by difficult events. It was at that moment I had to shake myself once again and remind myself that people and systems are poor substitutes for ever increasing joy.
David found himself in a period in which he experienced a life which had an intense thirst for God (Psalm 42-43). His described his emotional position in terms of thirst, turmoil, despair, and oppression. Why? David was in the experience of alienation and abandonment as he experienced the dehumanizing efforts of those who were against him. Yet David came to a significant realization that shook him to his soul and aided his emotional catharsis.
Hope in God.
Hope in God.
Hope in God.
So I say to my AAB brothers and sisters to hope in God for he is our salvation. We cannot trust that we will be fully heard and understood. We cannot believe that protests will ultimately win the day. We must hope in God even when our souls feel cast down. I know that for some of you to hope in God would appear weak but I want to tell you that God completely understands not being heard, the experience of alienation, and abandonment. God appeared as a minority, brown hued man and the Jewish power structure pursued his silence because he annunciated a message that would far surpass the message of the current rulers. He understands your perspective as a minority as he lived in the presence of a power structure that facilitated his alienation. At a critical juncture in Jesus ministry, his own followers abandoned him and he was left to die on his own. I am asking you to hope in God because despite the silence, the alienation, and abandonment, God who was brought to earth and died, rose triumphantly, not only for your salvation but the salvation of all mankind. God is our only hope and without him, we will perish as worshipers of our own pain and despair. God is our only hope who satisfies the thirst of our souls, relieves the oppression within our minds, and the brings peace to the turmoil many of currently experience.
Don't Lose Hope!