But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream! Amos 5:24 NIV
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jer. 29:11 NIV
I, like everyone who is reading this, have been shocked and dismayed at recent events in our country. The brutal slaying of George Floyd on memorial day and the subsequent unrest and violence have led me to look deeply at the issues of systemic racism and injustice in this country, what my role should be in speaking out against them, and seeking racial reconciliation and unity.
With the current global pandemic also still in full swing, these are uniquely trying and challenging times. It’s easy to despair and lose hope. It’s easy to fix our eyes on the difficulties surrounding us.
Amidst all the chaos in our country, another hopeful thing is happening almost unnoticed; people are slowing down, distractions are being uprooted. Serious questions are being asked about the meaning of life, the future, and justice and mercy.
Last week I had the distinct privilege of leading a prayer meeting at my church on a Saturday morning. About a dozen of us gathered to pray for racial reconciliation, an end to violence, an end to the pandemic, and for the Lord to pour out His Spirit upon our church and all the churches in our beautiful city.
It’s clear to me that God is doing something new in human hearts. As I’ve been volunteering weekly with one of our partners working with under-served, underprivileged youth, I’ve seen such a sense of unity and solidarity. It doesn’t matter in this group what color your skin is or where you come from, all are treated with love and respect.
One of the things I am so thankful for that God has done through Ascend is all the opportunities He has given us to be ministers of reconciliation. Through our programs with under-served, under-privileged youth, we get to provide outdoor opportunities to many who come from minority cultures and circumstances where they would never get to experience nature and adventure in the ways we are able to facilitate. Something amazing happens when we are all journeying together in wild places. Barriers break down, division is disrupted, and communication and understanding can take place. Prejudices and stereotypes can be unlearned.
After nearly 3 months of outdoor programming being suspended, I am so excited to get back out there and serve in the outdoors. Many of our partners have been so flexible, and we now have multiple programs scheduled with under-served, under-privileged youth over the next few months. We are working hard to keep informed as to all COVID-19 guidelines, and we are doing our very best to alter our practices in a way that helps to prevent the transmission of infectious diseases. As we move forward, I believe the Lord is moving through these unprecedented circumstances to work in hearts in an unprecedented way. He has a plan for our good and His glory. He is rolling out justice and righteousness like a never-failing stream!