A Quote that Punched Me in the Face

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—
and there was no one left to speak for me” (Martin Niemöller).

Martin Niemöller was a German pastor during the Nazi regime. According to what I read, he spent the last seven years of their reign in concentration camps.

I found this quote when I was scrolling through the saved websites on my phone. It did almost feel like a punch to the face. It reminded me that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere and silence in the face of injustice amounts to consent and approval of it.

I’m left asking the question: Who do I need to speak out for?

A better question is this: Who do I know that doesn’t have a voice that I’m not speaking out for?

Who will speak out for me if I don’t speak out for them?



A Certainty that Cannot Be Shaken

“We say, then, to anyone who is under trial, give Him time to steep the soul in His eternal truth. Go into the open air, look up into the depths of the sky, or out upon the wideness of the sea, or on the strength of the hills that is His also; or, if bound in the body, go forth in the spirit; spirit is not bound. Give Him time and, as surely as dawn follows night, there will break upon the heart a sense of certainty that cannot be shaken” (Amy Carmichael).

I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around what happened in Paris.

Granted, I didn’t even hear about it until I’d gotten home from work.

I turned on CNN and saw where at least 153 people had been killed in what looks like ISIS terrorist attacks on innocent civilians.

If it happened there, it could happen here. But still, the fact that it happened anywhere matters. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Attacks on liberty are a threat to liberty anywhere and everywhere.

I still don’t know why things like that happen. I know it’s a fallen and broken world. I know that people are capable of the worst acts, as evidenced by the Holocaust and Slavery and a million other atrocities.

I also know that God is in control.

I know that God can take the worst tragedies and turn them into something beautiful.

I still believe that in the end, Love wins. Jesus wins.

I know and believe with all my heart that, try as it might, darkness can never truly drive out the light. The only failure is a failure of the light when it refuses to shine.

I’m praying for Paris. I’m praying for all those who are burdened by oppression and injustice tonight.

May God have mercy on us all.


Late-Night Thoughts About Joseph

“Joseph replied, ‘Don’t be afraid. Do I act for God? Don’t you see, you planned evil against me but God used those same plans for my good, as you see all around you right now—life for many people.'” (Gen. 50:20)

As I have confessed before, there’s a whole lot I don’t know. Especially when it comes to why horrible things happen to godly people. I can point to verses that talk about God working in mysterious ways and how he works all things together for good, but at the end of the day, I’m unable to explain why God couldn’t have worked it out for them in a less painful way.

That’s when I yield to faith. I yield to what I know of God and his character. I yield to what I know of his proven track record in my own life. And I have to fall down on my knees and confess that he is good and that I have nowhere else to turn.

Joseph comes to mind. If anyone in the Bible had a right to play the victim card, it was Joseph. Sold into slavery by his own flesh and blood, falsely accused and slandered by the wife of the man that he had done nothing but serve faithfully for years, and forgotten in prison by those who promised they would remember. I would have thrown in the towel long before then.

But Joseph chose forgiveness. He chose to look with eyes of faith to what human eyes couldn’t see– that God was working even in the worst of circumstances to save not just one man, but an entire nation. He, like so many others, looked to the promises of God and counted them as good as done even when they seemed as good as dead.

I love what a pastor says. God can take that worst moment of your life, that most painful and humiliating season, and make it the first line of your testimony. To borrow a quote I’ve heard a lot lately, he can turn your mess into your message, your test into your testimony, your trial into triumph, and the victim into a victor. You will be able to speak to the pain that no one else can touch because you’ve walked through it.

I love this verse in Hebrews 11: “By an act of faith, Joseph, while dying, prophesied the exodus of Israel, and made arrangements for his own burial.” In other words, Joseph saw that God was able to redeem every single part of what he went through for a purpose far greater than himself. A purpose that saw the rise of a people of God, and later the Messiah.

May you and I see our circumstances with that kind of faith. May we trust that God is just as able to redeem our pain to make something equally as glorious and beautiful out of our messes.

My prayer for tonight

God, I don’t understand why things happen the way they do, but You do.

I don’t understand why I should be so blessed when all I seem to do is complain about what I lack, but You know why and love me anyway.

I don’t understand why people act the way they do, but You do and You call me to forgive them as You have forgiven them.

I don’t understand many times why I act the way I do, but You do and You forgive me.

I can’t fix my brokenness, but You can because You took it upon Yourself at Calvary.

I can’t mend broken relationships, but You can because You make all things new.

I can never be a man of God on my own, but in You I am one because You are in me.

I can never die to my way of doing things and say, Thy will be done,” but You did. And Your power and resurrected life are in me.

I can’t change the world or eradicate injustice, poverty, wrong and evil, but one day You will.

All the things I long to be in my best moments and all I ever dreamed I could be, You are.

To all that I have needed or will ever need, You say, “I AM!”