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God is in Control but I am Still Hurting

I am heartbroken, scared, angry, and confused.

As a woman, a Latina, a woman of color, and an immigrant living in the U.S. I feel so scared and unwelcome right now. I really thought that racism and sexism in the U.S. were getting better; I knew there was still a lot of work to be done, but I thought we were making progress. But now the U.S. has a president-elect and vice-president-elect who have not only said some horrible racist and sexist things, but who also promised to enact very racist and sexist policies that would greatly threaten some already vulnerable groups of people. So, how do I make sense of this election season?

People have told me and my friends in those vulnerable groups that God is sovereign and in control and Jesus is Lord. And I hear you and I fully believe that truth. But let us not conflate God's control with everything being okay. That's bad theology. We need to stop saying that as though it fixes everything. God's sovereignty didn't stop many horrible things from happening. He was Lord of Lords during the Holocaust. He was the King of Kings during the Rwandan genocide. He was sovereign during Apartheid and slavery. His control does not always mean we will live or thrive on this earth--because human decisions have consequences. And electing someone whose campaign was built on spouting hatred toward so many groups of people will have consequences. If you are able to tell me about God’s sovereignty without also wrestling with what it means to know that God is in control while fearing for your safety or your family’s safety, perhaps you have privilege that is insulating you from my pain. Perhaps it is time to listen first and hear why people like me might have a reason to be afraid of negative consequences of this election. What breaks my heart the most is that so many of those negative consequences will fall on some of the most vulnerable populations of our society.

I know that we need hope right now, and that knowing God is ultimately in control gives us hope. I see your good intentions in reminding me and my friends of that right now. But I don’t want your cheap hope. I want a hope that has grappled with the very real consequences that many people will face because of our decisions, even if you’re not part of the groups likely to be the most directly harmed.

So regardless of who you voted for, I need you to be my neighbor, my brother or sister right now.

So regardless of who you voted for, I need you to be my neighbor, my brother and sister right now. I need you to weep with me, like Jesus did for Lazarus. I need you to see that when one part of the Body hurts, we all hurt, because it is also important to recognize that we will all be affected by the outcomes of this election season. And then I need you to follow those acts of solidarity with actions and join us in continuing to fight against the very real demons of sexism and racism that have shown their ugly heads again. For we will not be overcome by fear. For we have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power and love and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).

The work of doing advocacy doesn’t stop once the elections polls close and the winners are announced. Real and lasting change has never come about from just one major event. We all need to commit to the consistent and persistent work of advocacy that brings about change, justice, and the flourishing of ALL. So, please--acknowledge the pain and real threat that many of us in these communities are experiencing, mourn with those who mourn as the Bible calls us to do, and then continue to work for the well-being of those communities using your voice to stand beside us and protect us from any negative policies or decisions made by our elected officials. Steward your voice to hold our elected officials accountable for the decisions and policies they put forth, make sure they align with our Biblical values, make sure they do not harm the most vulnerable communities in our society, and continue to pray for our leaders.

We all need to commit to the consistent and persistent work of advocacy that brings about change, justice, and the flourishing of ALL.

So, fellow immigrants, Latinos, and women, black people, LGBTQ community, refugees, individuals with disabilities, people in poverty, Muslims, and other communities that will be affected by these results: today I grieve and lament with you, but tomorrow I will continue to work for justice and for the flourishing of us all.

[Image: Flickr user Paula Silva]

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