The Question I Have to Ask… What Would You Have¬†Me¬†Do?

The Question I Have to Ask… What Would You Have¬†Me¬†Do?

The past 2 weeks have been heartbreaking as we have witnessed acts of brokenness unfold across our nation and around the world. While racial tension and discrimination, police shootings and shooting police, anger and hurt are not new to our world, our pain and bewilderment is fresh. And it causes me to ask a very personal, important question, “Lord, what would you have me do? How would you have me respond? 

I wonder if we might learn a bit from our high school students and two adult leaders who just returned from a week in Southeast Washington, D.C.? There, they actively engaged in conversations about poverty, systemic injustice, and racial reconciliation. In light of recent events, their ability to process, pray, serve, fellowship, and ask honest questions alongside trusted ministry partners and new friends proved to be especially meaningful. Getting to work out what it means to be a reconciler with fellow brothers and sisters in Christ —who were serving as bridges and peacemakers between races and economic classes in real time—was a gift none will soon forget. 

And so I ask, “Lord, what would you have me do?  “What would you have us do?” 

Let’s take a lesson from our students and learn a little from them on how to honestly, humbly, lovingly stand alongside one another and seek justice and mercy, as we walk humbly with our God.  It matters when I listen to the news and pray for mercy, understanding, and reconciliation. It matters when I look for ways to encourage and connect to my brothers and sisters who are so very different than me. It matters when I listen and acknowledge someone else’s story of pain and discrimination. It matters when I put someone’s dignity above expediency or efficiency. It matters when I pray that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven. It matters when I ask the Lord to help me love well.

Our students asked one of their new trusted friends, Rickey Bolden (former Cleveland Browns player), “How can we be bridge builders?” His response was as simple and as hard as, “Love your mom really well, love your sister well, and if you can be reconciled to those closest to you, then begin to build a friendship with someone very different than yourself. Then, love them well.” Put yourself in their shoes and love like Jesus loves; the widow, the orphan, the lost, the lonely…. the other.  

Lord, what would you have me do?  Love well.  Like Christ, “who Himself is our peace, who has made us both one and broken down in His flesh the dividing wall of hostility… and reconciles us both to God and one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.” Eph. 2:11-16 

If you’re reading this and thinking to yourself that you still have questions or feel like you need to know more, even as you commit to radically loving the people around you and those who are different from you, here is a great resource on racial justice: The Verge Network.  Or, reach out to one of your pastors or missions department staffers—we’d love to enter the conversation with you! 

May I live this out each day, amen! 

Beth Burgess
Assistant Director of Missions and Parent of one of our DC students