God speaks in mysterious ways. Just the other day, as I was filling my car with gas, creation arrested my attention. I saw the trees, standing in verdant robes of solemn serenity. I heard the birds singing their evening chorus. As a soft evening breeze brushed me, I noticed the North Florida heat fading and watched the sun begin its late day descent. All this I perceived in a moment. There was nothing remarkable about the day, but it burst with beauty. And it occurred to me that this is the world marred by sin.

This is the world mankind plunged under a curse. This world is nowhere near its potential vibrance and power, yet it almost glows with vitality and glory.

That moment made me think of American society, still functioning under a sort of curse from its original sin. No, America has not broken some special, national covenant with God. But the odorous residue of slavery and Jim Crow left its stench in every corner of this society. This society with unjust powers, where protecting black and brown bodies is more menu option than human right. Where something as basic as justice is deemed a laudable phenomenon. I thought of the struggle for justice in an unjust world, the struggle to love blackness in the midst of an anti-black society. I was reminded of how hopeless this struggle sometimes is.

But as I reflect on this creation, marked by goodness despite the brokenness of the curse, it made me think, If God can bring such captivating glory out of a sin-stained creation, if this world that death calls home can still be filled with life, then maybe this sin-sick, racism-rooted American society can one day be a place where black people get justice. This hope is not born of confidence in the goodness of humanity. It was the “goodness” of humanity that got us into this mess. This newfound hope sprung from a recognition of the God of creation.

He is the God who called the cosmos out of the chaotic void. The God who brings beauty from ashes. The God who used something as mundane as dust to create the crown of all creation, humankind. The God who brought righteousness through the climactic evil of Calvary. And if the God of creation does not need perfection, or even goodness, for his glory to be displayed, then America’s imperfection is more than enough for Him to work with. Be encouraged.

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The Front Porch

Conversations about biblical
faithfulness in African-American
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