Recently, a friend texted me out of the blue, an image of the verse below. It was from John 14 and said, “I am leaving you with a gift-peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” The timing was crazy because my bible was open to John Chapter 14 right then and there.
I love how God uses other humans to encourage us and get our attention. It’s those moments where it’s hard for me to believe in coincidence. I know it seems like a little thing, but it’s those little things that speak volumes because it reminds me that God is with me.
The other day, I was given another picture of something, but this time it wasn’t through a friend’s text. Let me back up just a bit. Some of you may already know this because you know my heart, but racial reconciliation is important to me. I believe it is the work of Jesus. Lately, I’ve been inviting others into listening and learning and loving. I guess you could say I’ve opened that door as an invitation and some of my white friends are excited to walk in, while others are more hesitant. Some view me as a semi-threat to their worldview. And today, I was given an analogy of what it might take for those who are hesitant.
And it was through my pets.
Before you think I’m being crazy, let me explain. There were no words that came out of my pets’ mouths like when God opened the mouth of a donkey in Numbers Chapter 22, but there was something about my animal’s actions that got my attention. I had just come into the house from being out in the hot tub and since my pets follow me every where I go, they were waiting at the back door. I opened the door to let them in and my dog was so eager she almost hit the glass before opening it.
My cat on the other hand, saw me open the door, but kept an eye on me. She was hesitant. I called her name, but she still wouldn’t come in. I moved to the side, she moved one paw forward, but still hesitated. I realized I needed to move so she didn’t see me as a threat. Here’s the thing. My cat doesn’t like to be picked up. She’s more independent. I feel her, I really do. But even when I moved to the side, it wasn’t enough. Finally, I tiptoed outside so she might go in on her own. And there she went, running inside.
It got me thinking about opening the door to racial reconciliation. There will be some who are excited to come on in! to listen + learn together and some who view it as a threat. And there are some who need to be met right where they’re at or left alone to enter on their own. If you’ve been met with hesitancy or even by harsh words, keep entering the world of others in a non-threatening way. Lean into humility + kindness. Keep opening the door. Keep inviting.
Most of all, keep showing up, keep sharing the love of Christ. Bring humility into those hard places. And really quickly (who am I kidding–I’m about to preach) if we go back to Numbers 22, we learn the donkey, who was given a voice, ended up getting stuck between a rock and a hard place. Maybe you are feeling that way now. Here’s the good news:
The hard place in Numbers 22 was the Angel of the Lord!
It turns out the owner of the donkey in the story was a powerful man named Balaam. God told Balaam not to curse the Israelites because he had freed them from the Egyptians, from lifelong oppression. The Israelites were given the Priestly Blessing:
May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you peace.Numbers 6:24-26
God gave Balaam specific instructions on dealing with the Moabites and Israelites but Balaam didn’t exactly follow God’s lead. He followed his own heart. The state of his heart was revealed in the way he treated his donkey, by beating him for not going his way. That’s when God gave the donkey a voice. “What have I done to you that deserves your beating me three times?” In this situation, God allowed the donkey to use its voice, to call out its owner. It reminds me that sometimes God wants me to use my voice too.
And going back to the imagery of my own dog and cat, I am reminded that my actions are equally important. Both of these analogies are good reminders to live life in the Spirit as it is written in Romans 8:1-17 to follow God’s lead, whether he is calling you to lean in, speak up, take action or open the door and move aside.
So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.Romans 8:6
If you are local and want to join a monthly group on how you can Be the Bridge to racial reconciliation, sign up HERE. I’d love to have you join me next week!