deepening the soul for justice {week 6}

Happy Read-Along Tuesday, friends. If you need/want to catch up, we’ll be discussing “Choose” (pages 25-29).

I love this quote on p. 26 from Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: “Everything which is further away, which does not threaten this very day to invade our threshold–with all its groans, its stifled cries, its destroyed lives, even if it involves millions of victims–this we consider on the whole to be perfectly bearable and of tolerable proportions.”

This is why I’m so passionate about people getting to know those who are victims of injustice. Preferably face to face, but also through firsthand accounts and stories of others. When I hear of things going on around the world, it hurts me most when it affects people I know (friends in Cambodia, Thailand, India, Kenya…)

And it’s not just on other continents. Ask God to open your eyes to people who need justice all around you. Just last night we had a friend over for dinner, and I was asking her if she’d ever been out of the country. She said she’d been to Canada once but got kicked out. “How do you get kicked out of Canada??” She said she was a college student, and she and a friend decided to take a trip.

When they got to the Canadian border, their car was searched for drugs and they were brought in for questioning. When they walked in the room, it became immediately apparent what their “crime” was. She and her friend and every single other person being held were black. Every last one of them. And all the border patrol people were white. Really?? She was tired and angry and went off on them (wish I could’ve been there). They sent her home (are they even allowed to do that?).

So, see? Maybe it’s someone in your neighborhood or your church. Maybe you could volunteer at a food pantry and listen to someone’s story. Injustice and hard stuff are everywhere. We’ve just got to put on our big girl panties and be willing to engage it.

“But God is so greatly concerned with injustice that he continually invites his children to face darkness for the purpose of sending us in to scatter it.” (p. 26)

Some of our friends just got back from two weeks in India. Sunday at church they shared stories of their trip. One thing that stood out to me was their visit to a brothel in the red light district, where they went to women’s rooms and offered to pray for them. The women were warm and welcoming and eagerly invited them in to their tiny rooms, 75% of the room taken up by a bed.

Our friend Jon said that when a woman first offered him a seat on her bed while they prayed, he cringed. Then soon realized what an honor and privilege it was to be welcomed into this place of darkness, to shine the light of God’s love in this hard place. A place where little kids have to hide under the bed while Mom works.

And now our church is going to help fund a school for these kids right there at the brothel. So beautiful.

“God’s justice will reign, God’s healing will come, God’s glory will be made known” (p. 28).

I don’t really have any questions this week (but of course I welcome your thoughts and ideas!). How about we take a minute to pray that we’ll choose to face darkness, choose to cast despair to the wayside, choose to let God lead us above all else, CHOOSE HOPE. (p. 29)

 

11 thoughts on “deepening the soul for justice {week 6}

  1. Shelly

    Hoping to get my comment in before baby girl wakes up from her nap. Apologies if it’s a little scattered! I loved this chapter. Solzhenitsyn’s quote is so powerful.

    Bethany says on p. 28-“ask God to remove the despair question “But what could I possibly do to make a difference?” And turn this into an unceasing prayer””. Struggling with being impactful stinks. It’s the devil at his best. I’m adding this to my daily prayer; Lord, showme with your eyes. Don’t let Satan cloud my view.

    Bethany also mentions practicing this prayer by returning to Suhana’s story and how we allow these stories to become disconnected from our daily lives. Marla I love what you said above about putting on our big girl panties and being willing to engage it. Exactly. No more “easy” prayer days.

    Happy Wednesday everyone! I really enjoyed the comments above and I look forward to next week!

  2. Brooke

    Father – I thank you for bringing us all together for the purpose of seeking your heart, specifically as it relates to justice in this world. Many times fear makes us ignore the problems of the world – those problems are far too vast for us to make a dent. How can one stressed woman in Tennessee change the world? And if I can’t change the world isn’t it better not to know?
    Forgive me, us, when we have this attitude. When we chose to worry more about what we don’t have, how our lives aren’t going according to plan, what tomorrow might bring.
    I praise you that you aren’t limited to what you people will do, otherwise this world would be hopeless. Please allow us to see at least glimmers of your hope in this world, and allow that hope to encourage us to press on.
    Open my eyes to the ways I can help. Really truly help.
    Strengthen us all, as we go through out our normal day – yet refuse to treat this worlds “normal” as good enough. Help us to fight for justice. Help us to love those around us, even when we aren’t lovely or they aren’t loveable.
    Thank you – for all you are, all you’ve given, and all you’ve yet to reveal.
    I love you.
    Amen.

  3. Teresa Henry

    The contrast between dark and light is very profound. When a person is in darkness because of something they did or for reasons beyond their control, the light seems impossible to reach…or the exposure of light is scary. There is this fear of what people will think when light shines in to the darkness even when what is there is the dark is not that person’s fault. The guilt and shame over circumstances can cause people to hide in the dark. But God is so gracious that from the very beginning of time shows us that light is good. When God created day and night he said “God set these lights in the sky to light the earth, to govern the day and night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:18). Those who have been stuck in darkness and afraid of the light…God said it was good. He created light to shine in on those in darkness. Matthew 5:14, 2 Corinthians 4:16, John 12:46, 1 John 1:5-7.

    In the book I am attempting to write about my road to restoration I write (this comes at a time when I am in the second day of an eating disorder treatment center, in the office of a Christian counselor at the age of 40 with a backback full of secrets and I just told her everything I had always been afraid of exposing): “My life now exposed was suddenly out of the dark and in the light. The Light. It exposes. Matthew 5:15 “You are the light of the world-like a city on the hilltop that cannot be hidden.” I had hid so long from the light. I hid from the exposure. I hid in the darkness. At night I had pulled the covers over my head and wailed from the pain and the fear of the light. I feared the exposure of all the shameful moments of my life. And now in this corner office, the light was impossible to avoid…I fell to my knees and this time I poured our words of forgiveness and repentance. On that day, the day the words and the truth came out–the day the wall broke—the light streamed through shining brightly in to the darkness. This is my journey from brokenness to restoration. That is what light does.”

    Light…we can be a glimpse of light for someone….anyone who is held in darkness whether it be sex trafficking or secrets that someone has or a hard time someone is going through. Light is grace and acceptance and love. I remember when I told this counselor everything. She embraced me and she was who God used to show me that light was good and darkness no longer needed to be where I hid. We can be that to our neighbor, our friend, a stranger, a girl sold in to slavery, a hungry child, a mom who is overwhelmed, a wife or husband who feels alone, the homeless person on the street we drive on…Light is good.

    Blessings…Teresa

    1. Andrea

      Teresa,

      Thank you for writing this. I feel my story and coming to light/exposing what was hidden is so much like yours. What a hard road. I am thankful now and filled with such peace and forgiveness. It only came to be so after light was shed. Many years, darkness. But our Light changed everything.

  4. Andrea

    This was such a good chapter. Hope and light in the darkness. Yes. YES! I NEED to read that.

    After a particularly hard season, I was struck by a wall in the London metro. A large dark wall. Someone had written in chalk, “Light provides a better source of illumination.” I had been referencing light and darkness in regards to my issues, and this was encouragement I needed. I took a picture and still use it as my phone’s background nearly 19 months later. How true it is! I kept running into references to light throughout my trip. How wonderfully encouraging God was in such odd places.

    Makes me think of many verses and songs. This stanza in particular sticks “In Him there is no darkness at all
    The night and the day are both alike
    The lamb is the Light of the city of God
    Shine in my heart Lord Jesus.”

    And a quote by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. – “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

    1. Marla Taviano

      I love this, Andrea. I hear words like “darkness” and “light” all time and don’t always give them much thought. It’s such a big, big part of who God is and his plan for us and this world.

  5. Jill Foley

    Marla…I’m here and I’ve been reading along, just not commenting. I was away on a trip for a week and while on the plane I read the whole book because I just couldn’t stop. I love it…every single bit of it…and know it’s going to be a book I come back to over and over.

    I love the concept that God is already working and that he asks us to join him. I came across this idea a couple years ago (concerning my advocacy for Compassion International) and it was a major paradigm shift for me. I feel so small and helpless when it comes to justice – but God’s not asking me to do the work – He’s asking me to join Him – to partner with Him. He can change circumstances and I’m invited to work alongside Him. Wow – what an honor.

    1. Marla Taviano

      Yes!! All I have to do is join God, partner with him. He’s leading the way. And yes–an honor! That’s how I feel when I’m loving on people in Jesus’ name. How blessed and honored am I to get to do this??

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