Our world is replete with problems! Global conflicts, growing food insecurity, racial inequality, economic disparity—there seems to be an unending list of wrongs that need to be righted. Some have said that these things are a sign of the end times—but are they?
If we scan the Bible, we can find innumerable stories of inequality and injustice. Many of the people living through those experiences had similar feelings to ours today. They wondered why and for how long their situation would endure.
Injustice is not new; it is a sign of our fallen state. In the Bible and today, God invites us as called-out ones” to live in the midst of this fallen creation. Each of us is asked to do our part to alleviate the suffering of others and to point to a better way—the way of the Savior and shalom.
One example of someone who did just that is Bob Moses, a quiet and unassuming civil rights icon who recently died at the age of 86. Bob was an example of one who saw the wrongs of the world and tried to right them—not in an attention-seeking way, but quietly, caring for others by helping remove impediments to their success. He was a teacher and the originator of The Algebra Project, which improved the educational levels of many poor children across the southern United States.
Bob was a quiet hero, and though we do not read much about his faith story, it should be noted that he was inspired to act by the Southern Christian Leadership Council, a group of pastors and leaders working to uplift their communities.
In a similar way, God calls us to be rooted where we are and to work for God’s justice and kingdom in these places. See Jeremiah 29:7, for example: “Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” We must seek shalom in the places where we have been planted.
This is a difficult calling. It is challenging to live through times and circumstances of injustice. It is difficult to be light and salt in our communities. It is exhausting to work for change and see it come only in increments.
In these times, I am comforted by the words of Jesus: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world (John 16:33).
God is with us in our messes. God is present and helps us in our distresses. God comforts us in our pains and equips us to comfort others—not just with words, but with everything he provides.
The Christian Reformed Church is described in our vision statement as a collection of healthy churches “transforming lives and communities worldwide.” May we live into the reality of this worthwhile vision.
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