What Is God Saying Now?

All night long I listened for God. What is He telling us? After hearing more hate. After feeling more scorn. After enduring more uncivil insult? What do we hear, indeed, from God who created us all?

Those were my questions after hearing of a President’s vulgar put down of Haiti and Africa—and their immigrants. I tried sleeping, but I couldn’t. I was up anyway. I recently had dental surgery, and lingering discomfort rattled my sleep.

So I was straining to hear God. What does He say—and what is He teaching—at moments like this?

We already heard others. Social media erupted with a vengeance when the President’s words were reported. Every manner of put down—from every possible side—was still trending the next morning.

But what about God? And what about the rest of us? What is He saying when we’re confronted with political bigotry, but also with everyday racism?

To our hearts, God is saying this:

Smile at somebody today. Be kind. Open a door for a stranger. Wave to a neighbor. Talk to a friend. Thank a worker. Don’t stay home and sulk, get back in the world and shine.

Indeed, wherever we walk today, do it with a smile. Leave behind not grit but grace.

God really said that?

I can’t, on my own, declare that. Throughout His Word, however, He says it. Loud and clear. Here is the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 4:31.

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice” (NIV).

And John the Evangelist in 1 John 1:7.

 “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin” (NIV).

And the writer of Hebrews:

“Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14 ESV).

And Jesus? Love your neighbor as yourself.

Well, yes.

Are these just platitudes from the Lord? Nice words for “normal” good days?

Actually, they are our marching orders. While the world rages, wherever we walk, let’s instead leave the fragrance of love.

Only then, can the world—and our hearts—hear, see and model the One Who is love.

Without Him, we crumble and rage. Especially on tough days.

But on tough days more than all, let’s try to love. God, indeed, said that. Now may He help us hear His call and follow.

Patricia Raybon is an award-winning author of books and essays on grace, race and mountain-moving faith.

To travel along on Patricia’s Faith Journey, please click here.

Any Scriptures quoted, unless noted otherwise, are the New Living Translation of the Holy Bible.

(For daily inspiration, check out Patricia’s five-star rated One Year® devotional, God’s Great Blessings. Order here or get autographed copies at Patricia’s little book shop here. Or if you already have a copy, please share it.) Onward!

Photo Credit: Xan Griffin at unsplash.com

36 thoughts on “What Is God Saying Now?

    1. Your kind words encourage me in return, dear Violet. May the Lord lead us to walk in His amazing way. With His love and peace, Patricia

  1. I think it is important to note that The President denies the statement. The story says “a source” reported it to the reporter. I don’t think that is credible. Also, I just heard a gentleman call into a radio program and state IF the President said that, it is pretty accurate of the governments and the economies of most African nations. That being said, the people are not part of that phrase. We are all brothers and sisters. Thank you for your blog.

    1. Appreciate your comment very much, Gary. Hearing about the denial, it’s important, indeed, to acknowledge it. Many people were in the meeting, however, and none disputed the original information. Either way, my task as a follower of Christ is to hear His voice and react in a way that reflects Him. This blog post attempts to do that. Thanks so much for responding to it. I sincerely appreciate your feedback. Blessings, Patricia

      1. Thanks, Patricia! I agree with your stance in the blog, but the President denies it and no one else will identify himself/herself as hearing it. I failed to mention that the gentleman who called the radio program was an immigrant from Liberia who had traveled much of Africa. If that terminology was used—I don’t like it, but it is important not to spread falsehoods, too. In the travel I have had in Africa, I find the people hard working and friendly, but the governments are not in most cases.

        1. Representative Dick Durbin reported that he was at the meeting, and heard the slur. This has been reported by BBC, a reliable news source.

          Thank you, Patricia, for writing this call to action. Even IF President Trump did not use this language, his policies reflect his unwillingness to see others as fully human, as fully image-bearers of God. Your reminder to love our neighbors is something we should strive for every day, and we can enact change in the smallest of ways.

          1. Thank you, Melanie, for this update. You insight, meantime, exposes the true nature of institutionalized racism. Beyond being repugnant, it transforms bigotry into policy. As believers, while we fight that injustice, we’re still called to love. Thank you for articulating that urgency so well.

        2. Thanks, Gary. My attitude about this controversy is triggered by several factors: sorrow at bigotry, sadness at ignorance, alarm at how easy it is to ascribe the worst to people with dark skin. Few Americans probably know, for example, that Nigerians are the most educated in the U.S., according to U.S. Census Data. As of 2006, 37 percent of Nigerians in the U.S. had bachelor’s degrees, 17 percent held master’s degrees and 4 percent had doctorates. In contrast, the same census data showed only 19 percent of white Americans had bachelor’s degrees, 8 percent held master’s degrees and only 1 percent held doctorates, the 2006 data reports.

          As for Haitians, their ethic for hard work is not just anecdotal, but documented. According to a 2017 study by the Migration Policy Institute, 71 percent of Haitian immigrants age 16 and older participated in the civilian labor force, compared to 66 percent of the overall foreign-born population and 62 percent of the U.S.-born population. Haitian immigrant women were also more likely to be in the labor force than the overall female immigrant population (66 percent compared to 55 percent). Haitian immigrants also were more likely to be employed in service occupations than both foreign- and native-born populations. I mention these numbers because any negative bias against these groups is ill-informed. Immigration has always yielded positive impacts on this country, and that’s still true–regardless of ethnicity or skin color.

          Finally, as a journalist by training, I know without question that no news reporter at the Washington Post would credit bigoted profanity to the President of the United States without corroboration by multiple reliable sources. Am I surprised those sources won’t come forward to identify themselves? Not at all. Were those sources vetted and cross-checked? Absolutely. Meantime, I agree with you that governments in many third-world countries are often unresponsive to the basic needs of their citizenry. Countries are poor, however, for many reasons. Shaming and blaming them doesn’t explain their complex backstories or make it OK to disparage them.

          I’ve gone on long enough. I wrote about this issue today to examine my own reactions and feelings. I’ve spent a lifetime being Black and the racism I’ve personally encountered, and still do, makes it hard for me to weigh even a whiff of bigotry with fairness. In response, the Lord challenged me early this morning to love anyway. That’s what I sought to promote today. Our job is to love. From there we can best address all the other problems related to racism in the world. It’s still endemic. God help us to not be part of the problem. Thanks for considering my reply. Kind regards, Patricia

  2. Thank you for sharing this truth. In this crazy, upside down, unbelieving world thank you for reminding me that God’s purpose for us to shine hasn’t changed. You are definitely a light. I am so encouraged by your writing. And stiĺl praying for your hubby.

    1. Sincere thanks, dear Paula, for your kind feedback and encouragement. It means the world! Thank you, indeed, for your prayers. Keep on shining!

  3. Thank you so much for the reminder of how we are to react to the hate being spewed. I appreciated your words very much as well as the quotes from the Lord. And please know, the current President does not speak for all the people, certainly not me. It made me feel small to think a leader would speak of other people (countries are their people) that way. It is hard, but I will treat injustice with love while fighting it tooth and nail.

    1. Thank you, in turn, Judy Boyles for your reminder–to treat injustice with love “while fighting it tooth and nail.” Well said. You are appreciated. Warm regards, Patricia

  4. You are speaking truth, Patricia. Indeed, followers of Christ are called to be counter-cultural. In these days of trouble, a smile goes a long, long way. Thanks for this reminder. I needed it today. Actually, I need it everyday.

  5. Thanks for sharing your wise words. it is hard to know how to move forward in a positive way sometimes – but giving value and care to each person we encounter is a great way to start!

  6. Time and time again, I see why our God chose you to be a special spokesperson for the world. I don’t think that your message should be derailed, especially when at this time we have no real proof as to what our president’s exact words are. You asked our Father to give you a response to your grief against hate and/or degradation of His creation. Thank you for focusing our eyes on this concept! As His people, Love and Forgive (and pray) anyway. Love is a HUGE order and human nature has always been and always will be dark. Love anyway and shine a beacon of His Light. Thank you for redirecting our attention to where the root is.

  7. Love anyway. I appreciate this message so much and it comes in a timely coincidence with the readings in your God’s Best Blessings devotional. The readings for this week are all about love, and this morning when I previewed the subtopic for tomorrow: Love your enemies. We need to combat racism and injustice with love.

    1. Blessings, Kelly! I noticed that “coincidence,” too. Reading it the devotional early this morning was like getting double confirmation that the blog post was on the right track. What the world needs now is love, indeed. Thank you for affirming that. Peace today and warmest thanks!

  8. Well said Patricia. As we struggle to be holy as He is holy in this fallen world we need to be reminded that LOVE is the best response.

    1. Thank you, Dianne. Seeking to walk in love today, I was reminded how much better love feels than anger or hate. Thank you for affirming that. Warmest thanks!

  9. Two sides of the same coin.

    Love. Hate.

    As a writer, I see a LOT of discussion about the verb “LOVE.” That’s all that is included in someone’s statement, how someone is hateful and they are loving, but it fails to include the rest of the language parts: A subject and an object. Let me explain.

    Remember, Patrica, when we met and I asked you about the phrase, “love your neighbor as yourself” and asked what was the most important word. You said correctly, “as” was the most important word. So let’s take another look at another word.

    Love.

    What does that mean?

    Now take a look at another word.

    Hate.

    What does that mean?

    Until you attach a subject and an object to both words, it means NOTHING.

    I love God.
    I hate Satan.
    I love good.
    I hate evil.
    I love people.
    I hate people being used.
    I love prosperity.
    I have poverty.
    I love God-given talents.
    I hate talents being wasted.
    I love smiling people.
    I hate hurting people.
    I love opportunities to prosper.
    I hate shitholes (and we’re not talking about Haiti here, it’s also Detroit, Chicago, and other cities or nations that are not as prosperous, too).
    I love watching the light go on in people’s eyes when they’re inspired.
    I hate it when people are cynical, just like Jesus saw others when He bypassed towns because of their unbelief.
    I love the body of Christ, where you are a liver, I’m a kidney, and someone else is an eye, ear, or nose, and we ALL need to work doing what we’re called to do, to live abundantly with others.
    I hate divisions, when the body of Christ when the liver attacks the kidney because they’re not livers, or the eye tells the ear how it’s not doing it’s job right.

    So you see, you and I probably would agree 100% with what I said above, yet we keep fighting and dividing and not coming together to make a difference.

    While most of the comments above were about interpreting the words said were about PEOPLE, that’s one side of the coin. I heard the words and thought about the economic situations of people. Some heard one side of the coin, negative words about people, I heard the other side of the same words, negative words about poverty, i.e. ECONOMICS.

    Until we see BOTH sides of a coin, we’ll never get beyond the bickering and choosing sides, and we’re no longer loving our neighbor AS ourselves.

    BTW, I’m heading at 12:30 today to look into a mission trip to Haiti put on by Cherry Hills Community Church, so don’t think I’m callous and don’t care because I disagree with some of the thoughts above. Because I love people and hate poverty, poverty of both mindsets and economics.

    1. Thanks, Kevin, for your comments. In reply, I’d say that, where immigrants are concerned–and also regarding love and hate–the issue is far more complex than two sides. To that end, before going to Haiti, my humble advice is to first get backgrounded in full. But that’s true wherever believers go. (And with whatever we write. With my every word, I’m always struggling to get better, indeed.) In the meantime, God help us to see His world and the people in it as He does. In that way, no place would get labeled with a slur. (So you owe Chicago and Detroit a sincere apology.) The human landscape is complex, indeed. Nevertheless, blessings on you today and thanks for commenting. With His peace, Patricia

      1. 100% agreed that immigration is a complex issue, but so is every discussion point. When you pick sides, you’re only look at one point, I was showing the other side of just one point. But there are MANY sides of every point.

          1. One of the most hurtful things about being a person of color is when people try to convince you that the bigotry that harms you isn’t that bad—that, in this case, a President’s hateful words and policies are OK because he once gave money to a Haitian mission trip. It may be hard to believe, but hearing that actually can feel insulting. In fact, it actually hurts. As for what we say, our best guide must God’s Word which, as you know, says this in particular:

            “The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” (James 3:6). It adds:

            “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.” (James 3: 9-10).

            Kevin, I won’t try to convince you that Donald Trump is disappointing and divisive. Or that his words are hurtful. Or that racism isn’t real and that racial pain hurts. But may I ask you to listen when people say they are hurting? Just listen and hear? Hearing would go a long way in starting to heal the historic divides in our sad and broken nation. Thank you, indeed, for trying to hear me on this. I sincerely appreciate it! Peace tonight, Patricia

  10. Patricia,

    Thank you for always (not just on this topic), being unashamed of the gospel and your continued proclamation as a follower of Christ. I appreciate you continually acknowledging God, and it is evident to me that you “hear His voice and react in a way that reflects Him.” I continue to appreciate your humble transparent obedience to your calling to teach and serve.

    1. Thank you, Pamela. Your kind feedback is encouraging and affirming. I appreciate your support so much. Thanks for walking with me on our journey. With His peace, Patricia

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