Reading an account of the life of Martin Luther King Jr., I am surprised at just how much Dr. King had to endure in his ambition to see real change happen in our society. Reading about this courageous and complicated man makes me ask the question about whether or not I have what it takes to be apart of what the Spirit is doing to create lasting, meaningful change in his world.
I long to see that change, person by person, reborn heart by reborn heart. ("Long" is not nearly a strong enough word: "have to" is closer.)
And after a short night's sleep and an anxious morning, everything in me says "I do not have what it takes."
How ignorant I am to think that Dr. King's only pushback was from the racist non-black community. That would be enough. But acting justly with racist opposition, governmental opposition, misunderstanding along with willful false defamation of his character, and dealing with his own doubts and fears had to have been overwhelming. On top of all of that were his brothers on the same side of the issue who thought he was weak and fought against him because Dr. King did not use unjust, violent force in order to put forward a just cause.
Entering into his life just a little this morning made me feel the weight of what it would take to stand up humbly for what my Father in heaven would like to create in his world. Anytime that any person wants to follow in Jesus' ways (as opposed to the ways of worldliness), that follower will encounter strong, overwhelming resistance. That is the nature of faithfulness.
So, how do I deal with this weight with despair...without losing heart?
While I am reading about Dr. King, an almost unnoticeable feeling of the reality of my inability to have that heart (much less the moral courage and the Christ-like wisdom), the Spirit did what he promised and fought for my heart with his truth. He reminded me of scripture:
2 Thessalonians 3:5: "May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness [or "endurance"] of Christ." (ESV) [My emphasis]
The truth is that I am not able to have the moral courage it takes to look spiritual evil in the eye and stand my ground. I do not have the emotional stamina to endure disappointment and the time it takes to wait on the Lord and see him breakthrough.
There is another glorious truth too: the very same Jesus- who is the source of moral courage, enduring love for my neighbor, and joy that is unquenchable- lives in me. JESUS lives in me. Jesus LIVES in me. Jesus lives IN me. Jesus lives in ME! (see also Galatians 2:20; Colossians 1:27-29)
So, I will act today, knowing (even weakly) that Jesus lives in me. He lives HIS endurance in me. He is at work through me reconciling the world to himself...even through pushing back on all the ways of our lives that grieve Him.
Jesus (in me) is enough. This is his heart and his work, anyway.
Lord, create what you want in this world, out of me, out of your people, and in the lives of those who do not yet have the ability to trust you.