2020 has been turbulent. From a pandemic that has swept the globe, the constant stream of bad news, to the worldwide uprisings and protests that ensued in the wake of George Floyd’s public execution, it is apparent our world is in a state of pandemonium.
Discourse surrounding racial inequality, police brutality, and humanity’s very shameful history of chattel slavery and imperialism have been simmering away just beneath society’s fragile surface for years. But this year the facade cracked, and we watched as tensions spilled over violently. Suddenly “Black Lives Matter!”, both a mantra and a war cry, was being chanted from all corners of the globe. People were marching, holding up placards and doing everything else necessary to make themselves heard by world leaders. Others were learning for the first time, the devastating effects that the past still has on our present.
As Christians, when it comes to life’s injustices it can be very difficult to reconcile our feelings – be it sadness, rage or shame – with our faith. You may have many unanswered questions: why would God allow such things to happen? Does He love a certain group of people less? Will the perpetrators of violence, systemic racism, and other ills of society go unpunished? The reality is you won’t always find every answer to every question.
So how do you find peace through unanswered questions?
This takes me to John 14.27, where Jesus told his disciples, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid”. This differentiation between worldly peace and Godly peace immediately signals that we’ll always be left half full if we go searching for answers without asking God to reconcile our feelings towards the world’s problems with His peace first.
Instead the verse demonstrates our need to allow God’s peace to reign in our hearts through every phase humanity goes through – not in a way that leaves us aloof and disconnected from the suffering of others, but in a way that empowers, and emboldens us to learn about the past, whilst confronting the present and trying to make a better tomorrow.
How can I move forward?
You might be reading this wondering what you can do in the meantime, in a world where God’s children are still so divided by racial and cultural differences. Let me remind you that social justice and activism is present throughout The Scriptures. We see this in the lives of heroic Bible characters such as Moses, Gideon and Esther, who fought for Israel’s liberation at different points in history. Sometimes, the fight was brutal, other times it was clever and cunning. But what is common to all is that they completed their assignment once they had encountered God and received His peace.
Unfortunately, peace won’t come from trying to find the answer to every searching question, but from seeking God, and leaning on Him whilst continuing in the struggle for justice.