I am Jacob: wrestling with God

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We gathered on Monument Circle in the dripping rain, hoods pulled up over our heads, bright umbrellas popping up like daisies. There was something electric about the atmosphere, buzzing with the passion we all shared for change. You don’t go to a protest if you don’t care about change.

And so we marched. And I found myself listening to their chant, the sound of determination over and over. “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” Was repeated until it branded itself into my mind.

I find myself here, drawn to the passion, still not sure what we’re begging for, but knowing that the pressure will give one way or the other and I know where I want the rocks to land.

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I have found myself inexplicably drawn to different people from the Bible in my life. I have been David fighting his Goliath, Gideon as he doubted his worthiness, Ruth as she laid herself vulnerable before a man she trusted. I have been Peter screaming over the waves, Noah as he prepared for rain, Mary as she treasured up all these things in her heart.

But this season. This season is different.

I have always known what I believed. I have never been one to hang around with uncertainty for very long. I like to know what I want. And for the very first time in my life, the world has been grayer than I have ever known it to be and I don’t know to do. The uncertainty makes me feel shifty and conflicted.

And I think about Jacob. The leader of God’s people. Israel. The man who wrestled with God. He and I, we wrestle with what it all means, with the problem and the solution and the how do we bring change for those who feel unheard? What is the right answer here? What do I do if I’m wrong? And what do I do if we’re right?

I see people on both sides of this fight that I deeply admire. I have seen people I respect up to their ears in bias, and others so heated with the anger of injustice that they couldn’t see straight. And I knew I didn’t fall in either party. I was going to have to pave my own way.

And so I march anyway, even if I’m not sure, because people are hurting and that’s enough. That’s a good reason to support them. I can’t afford to wait until I know it all, because I know the most important thing: black lives are always going to matter.

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We marched with the people, John and Zack and I, until we turned to each other with conviction and John said: we need to go back. We need to be at our university tonight. We need to start this conversation in a place where we can see it through. And Zack and I nodded, knowing our voices were needed most where we were known the best.

And so we went back. And we showed up. And we stood, holding a banner – some of us white, some of us black – proclaiming that black life matters. And no matter what happens with each individual case, no matter who happens to be responsible in Ferguson or Staten Island, black life is always going to matter. Always.

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photo cred (above): Logan Evans

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She had no choice.

NOTE: A little while ago, I wrote a post about Ruth, the Moabitess. It was such an amazing experience that I’ve decided to make a sequel. Enjoy. -H

She’s gorgeous.

I mean, it says in the Bible that “The woman was very beautiful,” but they don’t tell you HOW beautiful.

She’s stunning. Drop-dead, jaw-on-the-ground kind of stunning. She takes your breath away.

No wonder David wanted her.

Oh, Bathsheba. You are a mystery to me, shrouded in fog and the thick perfume of the palace bedroom of the most famous earthly king of all time. And that is where your dignity ends so often, doesn’t it? Your story ends in the bedroom, helping the king of Israel commit his crimes. If we’re going by the “guilty by association” rule of thumb, you are certainly not innocent.

But I suppose we forget too often how the times were then. You, young and fair and innocent and so very married, had to go to the palace at the summons of the king no matter what you wanted. You were a young woman, left by your husband to fight for a nation that has now taken what he values most. If the king summoned, you had no choice.

And Sheba dear, I wonder how it must have felt to walk into that room. Maybe you did want him, somewhere in a dark corner of your heart. Maybe you hadn’t been wanted so fiercely in a long, long time. Maybe you had never been wanted as much as the king of Israel wanted you in that moment.

Maybe you tried to run. Maybe you were suddenly shy as the handsome young king stepped towards you, pushing your hair away from your face.

Maybe if things had been different, you would have chosen him.

Or perhaps terror gripped you as he pushed the collar of your dress off your shoulders.

We’ll never know, will we?

Oh, Sheba, I am so sorry. So sorry that your crime was being beautiful and desirable. So sorry that if discovered, you would have been the one paying the price for a crime you were helpless to stop.

And I can only imagine the fear that must have gripped you when you realized there was another heart beating inside of you, a heart that was the result of a beginning that should have never begun.

But you are not left there. God is never finished until there is grace. You mothered one of the most famous kings in history, King Solomon. And you raised him and taught him to be kind and wise, and that is what he became. When you closed your eyes for the last time, you were able to end your life with a smile on your face. If that is not grace, I don’t know what is.

Let there never be doubt that God completes what he begins.