Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. –Psalm 61:1-2
Unless you’ve been somewhere with your head literally stuck in the sand, I believe you can agree with me the events of the past few days have been, for lack of a better, word, stunning. Let me “roll the tape back” for just a minute and say, the events of the past few months with COVID-19 had been stunning enough, and now we come to our current point in time.
February 23 gave us the vigilante-style killing of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year old man whose only crime was jogging while Black. More than two months passed before his death—the details of which had passed through the hands of three DAs in the District Attorney’s office with no arrests—gained the attention it deserved. Ironically, attention was largely drawn to the incident because one of the individuals allegedly involved released a video of the incident.
March 13 yielded the killing of 26-year old Breonna Taylor, an emergency room technician. She had been sleeping peacefully in her own home, in her own bed, when her home was crashed into by police executing a “no-knock” warrant. Shots rang out, and an autopsy would later reveal Breonna had been shot no less than eight times. When the dust settled somewhat, a preliminary investigation revealed the individuals sought by the police lived miles away from Breonna.
And then we came to May 25. On that day, those who were on the scene (and the millions who later watched the video) witnessed the senseless, brutal murder of George Floyd, in broad daylight, filmed by a bystander for all the world to see. His cries went completely unheeded by the one who swore “to protect and serve.” And now, at this writing we are experiencing the sixth night of protests across the nation—some peaceful, and many violent.
I can echo the words of the writer of Hebrews 11:32, who stated so eloquently “For time would not permit me to tell of . . ..” That writer was speaking of the heroes of faith; I am speaking of the countless names of Black men and women, as well as Native Americans and other Indigenous peoples, whose lives were unjustly and brutally snatched away from them down through the history of the United States.
(And lest you think I’m being “political,” please understand I am not. Those who name the name of Christ cannot be any more silent than the Old or New Testament prophets were. They spoke out against injustice and unrighteousness, and we must do the same. Speaking out against man’s inhumanity to man is not taking a “political” stance—it’s taking a stance against sin. Injustice is a sin; indeed, we know from God’s word in 1 John 5:17, “all unrighteousness is sin.”)
And just as we echo the words of the Hebrews writer, we echo the words of the psalmist David. At some point during his running away from the murderous intent of King Saul, David penned the words of Psalm 61: “Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”
My heart is overwhelmed right now, and no doubt yours is, too. Wherever we are in the world—whether in the United States, or some other country, how wonderful it is to know that from the ends of the earth we can cry out to God, and He will hear us. We can cast the burden of racism, and our feelings of frustration, grief, and anger upon the Lord, and know He will sustain us (Psalm 55:22).
Now, more than ever, let us look to the indwelling Holy Spirit to lead us to the Rock that is higher than we are. We can’t combat sin, unrighteousness, and injustice in our own strength—we must rely on the help that comes from the Lord (Psalm 121:1). God is our refuge and strength, a present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1). Now, more than ever, let us pray for our country, and for the Lord to heal the land. Let’s go to the Rock.