“Is there not a cause?”

spoken by David before he became King

For consecutive nights I have witnessed the mayhem of our nation unfold on our city streets. I was shocked with the rest of you to see lawlessness rampage unfettered. My mind was reeling at the destruction in real-time of a police station under siege without any resistance, and my heart was sickened to see a historic church set ablaze a block away from the White House. To my surprise, what troubled me the most was not those things, as upsetting as they were.

When I awoke the next morning, the faces of the young people still haunted me. Some were clearly angry, but the ones that got me were the faces that looked blank. As the nights grew on, they continued to march up the city streets, no doubt physically spent. But I couldn’t help but wonder what each of them was thinking, or did they reach a point where they were not thinking, just walking without conversation? Did they know why they were there?
The question for me was not how this will end, but what will become of this generation? Are they done with school? Are they done with work? What will they do after this? They are our future, after all.
Do we have only to despair over the possible scenarios ahead, or can we dare to hope? I prefer to hope. I have two references to stand on.

One is from my personal history, the other from biblical history–first the Bible:

“Now some cried out one thing, some another, for the assembly was in confusion, and most of them did not know why they had come together.”
‭‭Acts‬ ‭19:32‬

The above scene occurred two thousand years ago. It described an agitated crowd in the streets of a Roman city that was in turmoil because of a message that was contrary to what they believed.
The crowd had reason to protest because the message they heard threatened their mindset. As they grew in number, so did the atmosphere of violence. Similar outbreaks occurred throughout the New Testament.
This is where I see the connection in our day.

“…most of them did not know why they had gathered.”

When I watched the tired faces of these young people marching our streets, I saw real determination, but I also sensed confusion and fear. I fully believe that those who caught my eye were there for a cause. The actions of the policeman who took the life of another man in such a vile and sadistic way with his hand in his pocket and a smirk on his face were clearly demonic. To add the racist element of superiority made it that much worse and even more indicative of satanic hatred in action. Everything about that act was wrong, including the inactivity of the police nearby. My entire being shouted injustice, the same as it did on the faces of the peaceful protesters who marched tirelessly. It was their way of saying “NO, this can no longer happen in my country.”

Dare to Hope
I thank God for them—they gave me renewed hope for the future. The future, however, is now the dominant issue at stake in America. At least it should be.
We have crossed the covid line from the issue of health vs. economy.

Our survival as a republic made up of mutually respective free thinkers is on the edge of extinction if we do not come to our senses.
If ever there was a time when we needed to take God at His word, not for the sake of prosperity or revival, but for survival, it is now time to humble ourselves as believers in Jesus the Messiah and cry out for forgiveness and mercy on the innocent and the ignorant.
Let God show us where we failed to impart the truth of equality for all mankind and the dignity of every human life simply because we have all been made in His image. If any form of racial hatred to any degree is tolerated in any heart of anyone who claims to be a Christian, let the Spirit of God break your heart. Jesus made it clear that even thinking thoughts of hatred is as if the act was committed. Believers are called to be blameless in these matters. We are given the mandate purchased by the lifeblood of Jesus to love all people. He is the Judge of all mankind. Evildoers will receive their just due whether by their actions, words, or even thoughts.
The second reference I mentioned from which I draw hope is my own story. As a product of the turbulent sixties, I crossed the line from living as a hippie to acting as a yippie. Yippies were political activists whose goal was to bring down the “military-industrial complex–” our crude description of the establishment, or the nation’s government. Along with my peers, I longed for a better world where peace, love, and happiness would be the norm. However, I too was caught up in the growing mentality of distrust and anger. I was in Philadelphia supportive of racial outrage in the late sixties, a few years later at the Washington monument alongside those tossing Molotov cocktails at the National Guard. I drove to Ohio immediately following the Kent State shootings, as well as other acts of defiance. I believed from the heart that we had the right cause, but it all turned into a senseless rage until it seemed that no life mattered.
By the grace of God, even though I gave Him no thought, I was spared the tragedies that befell many of my friends. It wasn’t until I was married and became a father that I realized I had no more time to make up my own agenda. I had to come to a conclusion about why I am here in this crazy world.
When I looked at the faces of those young people on my screen, I wanted to walk alongside them, not in protest but in conversation—to walk and talk and listen. I knew how it felt to think that I was right and “they” were wrong. If only “they” were gone, we would be alright.
I could sense their hearts which began sincerely, but then something went wrong. As anger turned to rage, the shouting grew louder and soon things were being thrown at the police. Then graffiti then fires. In my day the cops came, but not in these days. Their cars were there, consumed by fire, and still, they didn’t come, even their precincts were broken into and ravaged as were the stores in the neighborhoods—so much carnage with so little resistance. America took on the appearance of a third world country under siege. By the third or fourth night, those faces that were bright and focused looked blank, yet they continued to march.
As the crowd in the Book of Acts, “most of them did not know why they had come together.”
This is the group that needs to be reached, just as I needed to be many years ago when my march lost its meaning. Had I not encountered Jesus and begun to learn from Him, my life would still be without meaning.

following a protest in 1971–the “guy” in the middle gave a pseudonym

He has invested vision within me and promoted me to live purposefully. I am not special, but He knew my heart as He does yours. Yes, we are all made in the image of God, but life mars that image. That is why Jesus died so that we can be re-made into His image. This massive crowd of young mislead dissidents doesn’t need our criticism or commentary. They need to be reached with the life-altering love of Jesus the Messiah. Once they do, their generation will explode with young men and women eager and able to turn this world right side up.

Because Jesus is the only genuine martyr the world has ever known. He gave His life for the cause. His cause is you, me, and them.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Sandra Lilly

    Thank you Paul..a must read for all.

Leave a Reply