Keeping Silent in the Midst of Injustice
The Mad Quest to Be Right!
"I'm not going to let that person get the best of me! I'm not letting that car cut me off!" These are some of the concerns that many face each day in a society that is becoming more and more self centered and Godless. Who cares these days about cheating, taking advantage, or lying? "I'm going to get mine and that's that!" Society is under some form of dark hypnotic power, never sleeping, always influencing the darker parts of our heart to think selfishly.
In a world that consistently portrays the good guy ending up last, we can see why people are careening down this helter-skelter path of rabid entitlement and the elbowing out of others to be first. Yet, the Bible paints a different picture. It paints a picture of people trusting in God rather than using their own strength to achieve their goals. Yes, we see Paul the Apostle demanding justice as a Roman citizen when treated unjustly and Jesus calling the Pharisees white washed tombs while ministering in their midst, but for the most part there is equal or more emphasis on believers entrusting themselves to a just God for their needs and concerns. In other words, there is definitely a lot more praying over arguing, silence over shouting, and trusting over worrying.
Jesus Sets the Standard
The Bible contains countless stories of humans facing insurmountable odds by trusting in a faithful God. You have Hezekiah spreading out the letter of the besieging Assyrians demanding their surrender and then praying to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In the end, an angel of the Lord, one lone heavenly emissary, kills off 85,000 thousand Assyrian troops with his sword. There is the story of Esther, Mordecai, and the other Jews fasting and praying for the deliverance of the nation of Israel from mass genocide. Then God delivers them by hanging their tormentor Haman, protecting all the Jews from extermination, and promoting Mordecai to chief councilor to King Ahasuerus. It was a complete reversal of fortunes brought about by trusting in God.
One can go on and on with many stories from the Bible. You have Moses, Abraham, Jacob, Samson, Gideon, and others, who turned to God rather than their flesh and became victorious in the midst of their trial. Yet, the gold medal of trust in the face of extreme adversity must go to Jesus. Hands down.
As the pharisees and their henchmen spat, slapped, falsely accused, and convicted the Son of God, the accused remained silent. Even on the cross he uttered no words of anger or fear, only forgiveness and love. Isaiah 53:7 states, " He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth."
1 Peter 2:23-25 further states, "For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls."
His act ot trust ensured the salvation of countless souls, including many of us who are reading this article. It all came about with Him choosing silence over fighting for his rights. We can do the same in many instances.
The Tale of the Frozen Hand
This is a personal story about God's intervention in my life through prayer. I just got back from the mission field and found myself working at my friend's restaurant in Honolulu. It was a catering outfit specializing in Pan-Pacific and local cuisine, which means stuff like garlic fried chicken, teriyaki beef, sushi, and steamed snapper with a ginger/soy sauce marinade. It was that kind of good food.
However, in the midst of the glorious food items, I found this one odd fellow who seemed to take a real dislike towards me. He would do petty stuff like hide my apron or give me wrong advice on how to cook dishes. One day I found myself over hearing a story of how he put a roach in a dish scheduled for a catering event. I didn't see him do it, but there were rumors that he sabotaged parties with these devious acts.
My animosity towards this one individual finally hit a flash point one day when I rushed into a walk in reefer or refrigerator. I was looking for hamburger buns and I riffled through some neatly stacked ones this individual just organized. He let out a "What the F!@#?&!, I just organized those buns." I then responded with a "Tough S@#$!*! Don't you see this is rush hour in the restaurant!"
At that moment I wanted to slam his head into the side of the reefer, but cooler heads prevailed and I just walked away. I came back later to grudgingly apologize to this person. He responded with a nonchalant nod and with his nonverbals just waved me away like a fly that annoyed.
Everything was fine if he stayed on his side of the restaurant and me on mine. The relationship remained cool, kind of at the simmering point, but I made it a point not to bring it to a boil. Even with all my emotional precautions and checks, I found out that he was on the team that was going to prepare the food for my wedding. I started to get worried. I started to fret. I wanted to report him. "What if he sabotages my entrees with a roach or some kind of weird spice or something?"
I couldn't turn to the owners of the company because they liked him since he graduated from a culinary institute and provided a level of expertise we didn't have. I started to pray. I prayed through Psalm 37:1-6, "Do not fret because of evildoers, be not envious toward wrongdoers. For they will wither quickly like the grass and fade like the green herb. Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord ; and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in him, and he will do it."
I asked the Lord to protect my wedding day from any destructive acts. I never once asked the Lord to take out or hurt this individual. I kept on praying for God's protection and help. Then the week before the wedding a strange thing happened. This individual walked into the restaurant with one of his hands pointing straight towards the sky. It was frozen in place with the stiffness slowly creeping into the rest of his body. He was dumbfounded. I was sobered. His cooking days were over for the time being.
He had to go on medical leave that day and never came back. He faded away like the green herb. Our wedding day went on schedule without a hitch.
I learned that day that arguing, striving, fretting ,or posturing oneself to get an advantage cannot compare to trusting in God. It wasn't easy, but I did it. Yes, we are not to be door mats as modeled by Paul and Jesus at certain key points in thier ministry, but for the most part, they entrusted themselves to a loving God who ultimately caused all things to work together for good.
These are good verses to live by when faced with a simlar challenge, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6.