“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you.
Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.” John 14:27
This past week, Baltimore experienced extreme violence and anarchy in the streets after the burial of Freddie Gray who died in police custody. Only with the passage of time will we truly be able to understand what transpired prior to and during the unfolding events. Some news reports say that bus loads of people were bused in from other areas, even other states. Others say that Baltimore has been a hot bed for poverty and racism, a prototype of sorts, for long standing hatred and racial inequality that exists within the US. Even and especially in the age of technology, it is hard to really get the unbiased facts from the news, as media outlets often focus on certain aspects while omitting important facts. With modern technology, we not only are hammered with images and posts about what happened, the world and neighbors alike watched it as it was unfolding! How frightening that must have been for those living in close proximity…But now it is time to put aside all fear for healing Baltimore.
With that said, we recognize that there is never a good reason for violence. Having grown up in abject poverty myself, I know well what it means to go without. I know the uneasiness of going to school and to bed at the end of the day hungry ~ Very hungry~ day after day. I know well the privileges lost by not being a person of means in my youth. Hunger. Social Isolation. Infirmity. Divorce. Abuse. Difficulty learning. For a myriad of reasons, I was in the end of the 4th grade before I could read at all. Needless to say, with little confidence and few clothes to wear, rarely matching or new, I often endured the bullying of my peers. Yes, I know poverty in body, mind and spirit. However, rather than becoming bitter over it, the Lord used the poverty experience to help me grow in deep empathy and compassion for others in need. It is likely the reason why I became an RN and a Chaplain.
Today, I wonder if the reason for the Baltimore violence is more about deprivation, bitterness that often arise from the ashes of poverty, and economic inequality between the “have’s” and “have not’s,” than race. In actuality, poverty is a pervasive blight that affects every aspect of living. It dictates your daily experience, and can commandeer your future. Perhaps what occurred in Baltimore was the tragic outcome of voiceless people living in generations of poverty and needing to be heard. Whether poverty, race or a combination of factors, we must find a way to heal…
We may never know all of the intricacies of what occurred and why. But clearly, it is time for some serious, life-giving dialogue. Honest dialogue with each other and God through prayer is the only way to peace I know. For with the passage of time, by the grace of God, the City of Baltimore WILL be restored. Burned buildings can and will be replaced, debris has already started to be removed by caring volunteers and city staff. Yet, for true, lasting relational healing to occur, we need to turn to Jesus, in all His Majesty, for ongoing help. We need to extend an olive branch and let His Light shine for all to see as we embark on this healing journey together.
Some observers say our city and nation has turned away from God. It is time to turn back to Him and fall on our knees in humble prayer. For Jesus is the Great Healer, Almighty Comforter, and Divine Savior. Where else can we turn for healing, comfort, solace and peace???
Adele M. Gill | 2015 Copyright | www.theinspirationcafeblog.net