Grace through the Pain
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
-2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV
Enough. I am mentally, emotionally, and spiritually tired of seeing black bodies slain in the streets. This week, I have gone through a cycle of emotions ranging from anger, heartbreak, frustration, outrage, disgust, sadness, and wondering what it will take for justice to finally be served. I have seen the countless posts from friends and family expressing their outrage over the killing of George Floyd, at the hands of police brutality. Whether the murders are committed by racist police officers or hate-filled vigilantes, one thing has been made abundantly clear . . . there is a refusal to impose true justice. This fact continues to be depicted by law enforcement, prosecutors, and the White House. I have many opinions concerning racial injustice and the impact it continues to have on this country, but that would take countless blog posts to cover. As difficult as it may be, today I am writing about praying for grace to get through the pain. The goal of this post is not to impose grace on the other side, but to pray for grace to carry you through. Lately, I feel like each of us need grace just to make it through the next day.
Grace is defined as the “unmerited divine assistance given to humans by God for their regeneration or sanctification.” My people need divine regeneration. We are spiritually depleted, and have been for generations given the countless injustices this country and its law enforcement has caused us to endure. I believe that true grace comes from God. However, I also believe that we need to give ourselves permission to receive grace. This means giving yourself the patience and time needed to get through your pain. It is not healthy to continuously see videos of black people being slaughtered; nor is it healthy to hear them cry out in desperation,“I can’t breathe.”
Some have expressed they are tired of praying, and feel more action needs to be taken. I agree there definitely needs to be action taken to achieve our goal, however we should never tire of praying. Breakthrough may take time to manifest, but it will come. God hears us and is with us. I am aware some reading this may feel like prayer is not enough, but it is everything. God is on our side, therefore we will accomplish our goal. I am not sure how the breakthrough will come, but I believe that it will. Remember that he told us, “when two or three are gathered in his name, He is there in the midst of us.” (A slight variation to Matthew 18:20). I know it may be hard to find God in the midst of this, but He is there.
On Friday night, there was a period where I found myself deeply enraged. I was trying to process yet another death in the midst of this unprecedented time. I was glued to the television, with my phone in hand, switching between news stations to see the coverage of the protests. I watched them honor, George Floyd’s memory and I watched the press conference with Mayor Bottoms, T.I., and Killer Mike. (Proud Astro moment). I then saw the riots that began to form. While watching, I came across a post of Dr. King’s quote, “a riot is the language of the unheard.” We have been unheard, and this was the collective voice of black bodies slain over the years and disregarded by generations of Americans. While I personally do not condone the looting or destruction that erupted, I must say that I understand the emotion of those who participated. There have been protests before, and the killings still happen. The police officers walk away with no real consequences and the cycle continues.
My life is filled with beautiful, kind, loving, and compassionate black people. I can’t imagine if anything were to happen to them, especially at the hands of injustice and racism. Each and every one of their lives matter and have value. I matter. You matter. We matter.
I want to leave you with a quote from one of my favorite books, “To Kill a Mockingbird.” I remember reading this book in Ms. Hayes’ class at Young Middle School. I was profoundly impacted by this literary work and its characters. The symbolism is strong and can be deciphered in various ways that are still applicable today. The one that I feel carries the most relevance in regards to this topic is the quote taken from attorney, Atticus Finch and his neighbor, Ms. Maudie about how it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.
"Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."
. . .
“Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don't eat up people's gardens, don't nest in corncribs, they don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.”
The book uses “mockingbird” as a metaphor for a few characters, but most profoundly Tom Robinson, who is a representation of the black man in America. Each and every black soul we have lost due to police brutality and racism were mockingbirds, and it was a sin to kill them.
Grant yourself the grace to be upset, enraged, hurt, scream, and cry . . . but pray for the grace to get back up to fight another day. Grace will allow you to make a difference, no matter how small. Pray for grace to be a good parent, spouse, friend, employee, entrepreneur, ally, or just a black person in America.
And if you just so happen to run out of grace to give, remember His grace is sufficient for us.
I hope everyone has a blessed week, and I pray that God grants us each the grace we need.
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