You know the phrase, “Be careful what you pray for.” Yeah. One year ago I prayed that God would use me to bring about justice. In a little over a month we are moving to Cambodia -- to live as missionaries for a year and fight against human trafficking. Seriously.
Here’s a tiny piece of the back story. Last fall I was asked to write an entry in a short Advent devotional for my church, Covenant Presbyterian Church in Austin, TX. They gave me some Bible passages and told me the topic for the week was “Justice.” Awesome! I liked justice. I liked to think I did justice pretty well. Piece of cake.
Then I read the passages. Ha.
“Woe to you who think you live on easy street in Zion, who think Mount Samaria is the good life. You assume you’re at the top of the heap, voted the number-one best place to live. Well, wake up and look around. Get off your pedestal… . You lie on beds adorned with ivory and lounge on your couches. You dine on choice lambs and fattened calves…. You drink wine by the bowlful, and use the finest lotions, but you do not grieve over the ruin of Joseph. Therefore you will be among the first to go into exile, your feasting and lounging will end.” (Amos 6:1-14, MSG).
Nice. It was like God had looked straight down into my “number-one rated city” and called me out about my VISA bill. Yes, I liked justice, but I liked my comfort more.
For the next few days, I prayed (ok, complained), and tried to think how I would write this devotional. Where were the lambs? The wise men? The star and the baby? The message about how we were all ok if we fed the hungry occasionally? Below is what I ended up with.
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
Justice Is On The Way
Amos 6:1-14; 2 Thess 1:5-12
by Thais Kilday
Truthfully, I’ve been struggling with creating an Advent devotional out of these passages. When I think of Advent, I think of Christmas music, shepherds, stars, peaceful nights, messages of joy and love. “Woe to you who are complacent…and to you who feel secure” wasn’t what I had in mind. I realize with increasing discomfort that I am the one Amos writes about who lives in my highly-rated city, lounging on my couch, enjoying the luxury of fine food, wine and lotions. I am the one whose “feasting and lounging will end.”
I read in the letter to the Thessalonians, that God is right and just, and I know that to be true. I typically take pride in myself as an advocate for justice, but this gets more complicated when I am faced with the truth that God may not be a fan of my personal comfort and complacency. What if God’s justice isn’t just “out there” for “those people”? What if God’s coming justice means He sees and cares about my selfishness? Thomas Jefferson once said, “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just.” Perhaps we should all tremble.
I wonder if in this season, I can be transformed into finding joy in knowing that there is an end to all injustice, even knowing that it will require changes in me. I pray God will grow and use us to bring His justice on Earth closer to the way He orders it in heaven. Paul writes that God’s justice is on the way. Let us rejoice and be glad.
Dear mighty and merciful Father, I pray the prayer of Paul that your justice will come, and that you will make us worthy of your calling. Amen
I came upon this devotional again just a few weeks ago and I was awe struck and grateful for this glimpse of God’s handiwork in my life. I had written this message before I had ever heard of International Justice Mission (IJM). I had written it before we had applied for volunteer fellowships to go fight human trafficking, before I knew anything about Cambodia, before I updated my kids’ passports, cleaned out my house for rental, applied for international schools for the kids, or got my Typhoid vaccination. Seeing this message a year later brought a burst of confident calm into days that can be fearful. As I prayed (ok, complained) last fall, I didn’t know what was to come, but God did. And God was already at work preparing me.
God is real. God is good. God is working in our lives when we don’t even realize it. And God hates injustice.
Please stay in touch as we move into this new journey God has begun in our lives. We need your prayers and your support. And we are so eager to hear how God will use you in the fight to bring justice to your corner of the world in 2017.