Bondye konnen espwa.
God knows hope.
The events of the past few months have reminded us that we don’t know what the future holds for us. We make plans, and then we deal with what life throws our way. A few months ago, we planned our 2020 Spring Campaign. We plan one every year. We set goals. We put things on the calendar, and we lay out which topics best convey our ministry and comprise the year’s theme. We ask God to speak into the planning process, and we step out in faith as life goes on.
Last week was hard. We highlighted fanmi (family) as our weekly theme. We talked about how God created family, how each of us need family in order to become the people we are created and called to be, and why it’s the core of why we do what we do (click here to read the blog post). However, life took an expected turn on Monday following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This event and the ones that followed laid bare many things. The events of last week laid bare how broken we are as a family of God. They laid bare how much work we need to do to have our words match our actions when it comes to being the family of God. They reminded us of a word we highlighted just a few weeks earlier: kraze (broken).
At Children of the Promise, we were undeniably impacted by these events, and by the underlying brokenness. First off, our stateside office is in Willmar, Minnesota, just 100 miles west of the incident and all that followed. It feels close to home. We have hundreds of adopted children spread throughout communities in the United States and Canada, communities in which our children are often in the vast minority. This feels close to home for these children and their families.
On a deeper level, the core issue is close to home for ministry in Haiti. Haiti is a nation whose entire history has been shaped by racism. Most of Haiti’s citizens are there because they were seen as less than and brought there as slaves. Even after fighting for their freedom and independence, after fighting for what is right, they were not recognized by much of the world because of their race. For decades they have experienced hardship and manipulation because of racial biases against Haiti’s people. Though these events are mostly playing out in the United States, the people of Haiti are no doubt watching and listening to see what we say and how we respond. As their past has been shaped by our inaction on this issue, their future depends on how we respond now and move forward.
We feel raw. We feel restless. We feel scared, sad, angry, helpless… we feel a lot of things. We want to do something, but we don’t know what. We’re not sure where to start.
Last week, in a staff devotion time, we found ourselves reading Psalm 107. I challenge you all to read it and for us to use it as a place to start. In the passage, the Psalmist describes several situations where people find themselves in a place of trouble, and in response there is a common refrain: Then, in your desperate condition, you called out to God. He got you out in the nick of time. (Psalm 107, the Message)
Every situation in the passage is driven by hope, this expectation and longing for God to move in conjunction with our action. Each situation requires that we call out from our desperate condition in humility and repentance. It’s the act of acknowledging and confessing that we are broken and in need of our Father. This is where I believe we start. This is what we do next.
Bondye konnen espwa. God knows hope. When we planned for espwa to be the topic of this week during our 2020 Spring Campaign, we had no idea that this would be the landscape. But God did, because He knows. I believe that He knew that this was a week that we needed to focus on espwa, on hope. However, I also believe that we need to see hope through a new lens. Hope isn’t wishful thinking or unrealistic optimism. Rather, it’s this confident expectation for God to hold true to his promises. Hope is something that grows out of pain and persistence. It is often sought after when we are raw and hurting. In these moments of intense pain and hurt, it may be easy to become hopeless, to become stagnant and deem the situation beyond redemption. However, “hopelessness is the enemy of justice” (Bryan Stevenson, Just Mercy). That is why we must hold fast to hope.
This week and beyond, may we hold fast to hope, humbly ask God to move, and stand against the enemy of justice.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.