My twin daughters are 11-years-old (how quickly the time passes!) and one of them has recently become interested in reading books on the Holocaust. The protective mom side of me was hesitant at first because … wow … what a horrific era of modern-day world history. I wanted to shield her from that. And certainly, just a disclaimer: I am previewing the books she’s choosing in this genre so as to be able talk about them with her and to ensure she isn’t stumbling into subjects that are too mature for her. And yet. I’m also convicted that I cannot protect either of my daughters from the reality of our broken world, and nor do I want to keep them from learning about periods of history that illustrate this reality very clearly. We live in a broken world desperately in need of a Redeemer who will return one day to make All.Things.New. He came to give new hearts to those who look to Him in faith, and throughout human history, we the redeemed are called to work out our personal redemption from sin in the relationships, families, and communities in which our God places us. On today – Holocaust Remembrance Day – I think part of my redemption includes a purposeful remembrance. In meditating on that and why, I penned the words of this poem. I offer it as an invitation, not a condemnation. An invitation to remember and why we must remember, not just the Holocaust, but all the areas in our world today desperate for the justice we the redeemed are to bring through the power of our risen King Jesus.
I woke up this morning to all the alerts: not only my own alarm, but warnings about flash flooding and plans rearranged and then the burden of these headlines:
- Another shooting and more riots in Charlotte, NC – Lord, when will this end? Heal us, Father. We pray for justice to prevail – for healing that is as real and as deep as the racial brokenness of our country. Give us ears to listen to one another in order to understand, not to judge. Break down all of our defenses through the strength of Love.
- More info on the terrorist suspected of massive plots in NYC and NJ – Father, I’m afraid. It could be our neighborhood next – or our mall.
- An apparently failed ceasefire in Syria – there was an attack on the aid convoy. – Lord, for all of those who need aid and help desperately, find a way. Give courage to the men and women risking their lives to deliver this aid. Let us who live comfortable Western lives not grow numb. Show us how we can help our neighbor, though that neighbor be halfway around the world, and keep us from being blind to the neighbor living next door to us or down the street from us.
This list could go on and on. And our response (or at least mine) is to feel the fear like a pit in my stomach and the instant tension in my shoulders. I want to find a refuge to run to with my family where no harm can touch us, and where we can bring everyone else who needs help with us, too.
I’m not alone in this desire. And there is a refuge promised One Day. Because of this Future Hope, we take comfort in Jesus’ words from over 2000 years ago, and we can serve for justice and peace now.
I want to read the promises side-by-side with the headlines. Jesus brings perspective and best of all – his presence in the promised Holy Spirit to all who find refuge by faith in Jesus.
Because of Jesus’ Presence, I can take a deep breath, go downstairs and hug my children and cook breakfast and serve in my little corner of the world.
Because of Jesus’ Presence, I can be fully involved in the here-and-now while also seeking how I can be part of the global concerns because they affect fellow human beings worthy of dignity since they’re made imago Dei.
Where do you take refuge in these troubled times? How do you balance the reality of the here-and-now demands on your life with the global concerns impacting us?