Hear the voice of my appeal, as I cry to you for help,
as I lift up my hands toward your most holy sanctuary. (Psalm 28:2)
Some years ago, at least five and maybe more, I stopped talking publicly about the senseless gun violence and hate crimes that riddle our society. I stopped raising them up as prayer concerns. I stopped writing about them in meditations. I stopped asking how long we as a society would continue to tolerate this madness while doing nothing.
I had to. The sadness in my soul as I spoke and wrote was only multiplied by the fact that I knew nothing would change. Not only that, but I also knew that many people wished I would just stop talking about it. Too many have bought into the lie that there is nothing we can do to stop the violence.
Yesterday, a graduate student at the University of North Carolina shot and killed a professor. A couple of days ago, an avowed racist walked into a Dollar General store in Jacksonville, Florida and shot to death three black people. On Sunday morning, there was a shooting after a baby shower in Mansfield, Ohio, that left one dead and three wounded. Last week, a man in Hartville, Ohio killed his wife and three children before turning the gun on himself. And on it goes.
So why am I bringing this up now? Do I think the time is right for change to happen?
No. I am writing because if you are still reading, your heart is probably as broken as mine. You are probably as sick and tired of the violence and hate as I am. And maybe you wonder who we can cry out to when no one seems willing to listen. Then, this morning, I read Psalm 28.
Psalm 28 reminds us that even when it seems no one else is listening, we can cry out to God and God will hear and God will give us strength. The Psalm goes on to say, “Blessed be the LORD for he has heard the sound of my pleadings. The LORD is my strength and my shield.”
As much as our hearts may break for all the violence and hate we see, we need the strength to continue to pour out love and compassion and acceptance into the world. Every small act of kindness and every selfless act of love brings God’s beloved community a tiny bit closer to our world. When it seems like there is nothing we can do, we can love.
Blessed be the LORD for hearing our cries and giving us the strength to keep filling the world with love.