This past month, the Lord has placed a burden on my heart for my community. Actually, I don’t even know if burden is the right word. I don’t think I can sum up the feelings of my heart in just one word. I am feeling many words to describe the state of my heart.
My heart hurts for the 15 year old shot during a break-in about 100 ft. away from our Northlake Elementary after-school program. It hurts for the young man who resorted to such a crime. It hurts for the boy's mother as I think about the phone call she received from the hospital letting her know that her son had been shot. It hurts for the people whose house got broken in to and the violation of their safety. It hurts as I think that we live in a community where it is completely justified to protect ourselves with weapons. My heart hurts as I think of the young man and wonder “Son, why?”
My heart is angry for the shooting at Forest and Audelia in broad daylight. It is angry because the grim reality is that our neighbors live in a neighborhood that is void of safety and peace. It is angry for the mothers who worry about letting their children out to play after school. It is angry for the children who do not have any options for green space, parks, community centers, or gymnasiums and are forced to either stay inside or risk being outside. My heart is angry that life is not fair.
My heart is fearful when I read about a murder less than 3 miles away from my house. It is fearful when I think about the act of taking another person's life in cold blood. It is fearful when I read about the violence and drugs that have found their way into our Lake Highlands community. It is fearful when I think about what this means for my kids who are being raised in our community. My heart is fearful that someone I love could be next.
My heart mourns that Alvin Joseph is dead. It mourns for his daughters that no longer have a father to call when they want to feel loved. It mourns to think that he received something that he did not deserve. It mourns to think that justice still has not been served. My heart mourns that a mother had to bury a son. No mother should have to do that.
My heart is sad as I hear about violence on the Skillman Street. It is sad that I drive by this intersection almost every day as I take our Forerunners home after our program. It is sad that one more of our African-American young men has passed. My heart is sad that this seems to be “just another day”. I pray to the Lord that we are not getting used to this. And this. And this. And this.
My heart is heavy. And I know that the Lord’s heart is heavy too. He is sad. He is angry. He is mourning alongside with us. He hates that those that He loves are living in fear. This is not how it is supposed to be.
So my prayer is this: Lord, let your Kingdom come. King Jesus come and comfort those who mourn. Come and replace fear with hope. Overcome this evil with your goodness.
Psalm 30:11 says “In your Kingdom, you turn mourning into dancing.”
Isaiah 1:17 says “In your Kingdom, you defend the oppressed.”
Psalm 34:4 says “In your Kingdom, you deliver me from my fears.”
Romans 15:13 says “In your Kingdom, there is hope, joy, and peace.”
I write you this piece not to try to manipulate you into taking action. It is not to say “Look at all of this bad stuff that is happening in our backyard! You should care about it!” That wouldn’t be very Godly of me. That’s not what this is about.
I write you this peace to tell you that we serve a God who wants to do something about all of this evil in our community. He wants to show us that He has won the battle. He wants his Kingdom to reign here in Lake Highlands.
I write you this piece to tell you that He wants to use us to do something about it. Yes. You and me.
You see, if you believe in Jesus then He lives inside of you. And if He lives inside of you, then He wants to use you to do His will. He wants to use you to turn people’s sorrow into gladness. He wants to use you to defend the oppressed. He wants to use you to deliver people from hear and to give your neighbors hope, joy, and peace.
What an amazing opportunity we have to be the hands and the feet of Jesus to our neighbors in Lake Highlands. What an opportunity we have to bring Him glory in the midst of this evil. It's not about us. It's all about Him.
Murder. Gangs. Shootings. Fear. Insecurity. Robberies. Hate. Evil. Those are not the things of God.
Love. Peace. Comfort. Unity. Hope. Joy. Restoration. Service. Those are the things of God.
Let me know what you think. Let’s grab coffee. Let’s connect via email. This isn’t just a “Forerunner Mentoring” thing. It’s a “people of God” thing. Sure, you can mentor or tutor through Forerunner, but there are many ways to help out and serve. It could be as easy as grabbing lunch with a kiddo once a week at school in LH or helping out with a PTA drive for a school whose PTA has less then 10 members. Our kids need some help. Our community needs some help.
If you feel called to be used by the Lord to do His work, let's do something about it. Take some time. Pray about it. Talk it over with your friends and family.
We have a tremendous opportunity here to be used to usher God’s kingdom into our community of Lake Highlands. After all, it is our community.
I’m in. And I got a few friends who are in too.
Will you join me?