Times like these…

What do I say about the last months?  I say God may be shaking things up. At the least, He is allowing things to be shaken up.  I think back at the end of 2019 and remember how uncertain things looked for me.  I was thinking about changing jobs; quite frankly, I had enough of what I saw as dysfunction and my part in seeing people mistreated, devalued, and outright humiliated by others.  I remember saying to my husband, I know I make a good amount of money, but I cannot continue to sit by and watch it.  I am complicit.

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One day the senior leaders met and, although a senior executive also, one associate said, “why do we allow this to happen? Why do we sit back and let it happen?” The person did not have a clue how much she said forced me into action.  I had prayed repeatedly, asking God to change the heart of the person who created so much fear and uncertainty, but no answer. I can promise you that I prayed over the decisions being made for more than six months.  Finally, at the beginning of the year, I had the opportunity to travel to Africa, and while gone, I again got to see things from a distance. Again, I just prayed.  During the time I prayed, I also tried to offer reason and a more inclusive and rational approach to the situations I was witnessing.  Then in February, things seemed to settle down, but on the first of March, they started up again.  I recall it was right before my 38th wedding anniversary. I had enough and submitted my resignation; I did this approximately one week before all hell broke out and Bam! COVID-19 entered the scene and what would become a new way of living for months.

During the week I was home, I started seeking God more and spending early mornings in the backyard communing with Him. I remember the weight I felt lifted after I had taken the step to resign and trust God for the next thing.  Within a week of that decision, I had at least three serious opportunities present itself to me.  One of the three spoke to what I believe to be my purpose, but certainly, it was my passion.  When I read about the organization and saw their mission, vision, and core values’ statements, I was overly excited and felt God was saying to me, “Didn’t I tell you to trust me? Didn’t I promise that I was going to give you the desires of your heart? Didn’t I tell you that what others meant for evil, I would turn it to your ?” All I could say was, Yes, Lord.  

Out of the three opportunities, all invited me back for second interviews, and I had serious opportunities before me.  The one that won is the one that I know God purposed and designed specifically for me.  

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God has been speaking to you about speaking up about some unjust situation, and you chose to remain quiet.  Perhaps you have participated in systemic racism by using some stereotypes to keep others out of the club. Maybe you have not, however, you know people who make racial or religious comments (as I sat quietly and watch this happen at my previous organization) and laughed just about being included. Or you have spoken up but then experienced the wrath of the one holding power.  You were labeled as not loyal or too sensitive or too whatever. Maybe, God has heard your prayers, and He has allowed a shake-up!

We wonder what has happened in the world. What has happened is a wakeup call. Regardless of what is happening, God has a plan for it all.  COVID-19 stopped us dead in our busy tracks.  George Floyd’s death, as tragic as it is, I believe God is still in control and has used it to wake up America and the world.  If nothing else, perhaps we will stop and not just look at inequalities in society as someone else’s problem, but a challenge for all humankind. 

Do I believe good will come out of all the chaos? I do. It is in times like these; God can be God. He shows us just how much He cares for the minor and major things that affect us all.  It is in these times if we are interested, we can ask God to show us what He wants from us to do.  If our hearts are dark, we can ask Him to change it. When our minds are closed, we can ask Him to open it. If we do not understand each other, we can seek to understand rather than to be understood. Whether we like it or not, there is an awakening happening throughout the world.  We can choose to be a part of the solution or commit never to be a part of this world’s continued cycle.  People are not the same. We see things differently because of different lived experiences. 

At the organization I left, it was my choice due to misaligned values. Others saw and commented on the same things I saw but chose to stay. Who is right? I suppose it depends on how one rationalizes what one will accept or will not. I would venture to say that many of the people I left behind are good people, but I am a good person too. I see things differently than my counterparts. I say this also as I end this article in the face of a racially divided country and world.  

For Believers, just know, Racism exists, and we will never agree that it does not. I will not remain quiet when I see injustices. Proverbs 31: 8-9 says, Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.”

No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love.”—Nelson Mandela

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