Robin of Berkeley
I was driving through a rough and tough part of Oakland this morning. I don’t generally travel there but was en route to a doctor’s appointment.
It was a part of Oakland under siege: with no businesses to speak of; where drive-bys are common, and drugs, gangs, and thugs rule the streets. As I drove down the busy avenue, I (as well as everyone around me) shut my windows tightly, locked the doors, and made no eye contact with absolutely anyone.
But when I stopped at a red light, I saw an unusual sight: a black man on the corner, bellowing something at the top of his lungs. Actually, this isn’t all that strange a sighting since the crazed and drug-addled will often start yelling, both in Oakland and Berkeley.
But this man was well-dressed, and he also had something rarely seen around here: a light in his eyes. Curious, I took the risk to lower my windows and listen to what he was saying.
Standing amidst the druggies and the passersby averting their eyes, he yelled, “I am different than you. I have God in me. I am a changed person, and you can be too. You can have all your sins washed away right now, just like that.”
Excited, I looked at him and smiled. Though there were hordes of people and cars around, we locked eyes. Although we were strangers, I recognized him, and he recognized me.
Speaking even more forcefully he shouted, “Don’t you want to be forgiven? Don’t you want the love and the hope that can only come from God? Come to God right now. Let Him deliver you.”
We locked eyes again, and I gave him a big thumbs up. Looking pleased, he returned with his own thumb’s up, and continued his message even stronger and louder.
When the red light changed to green, I slowly made my way up next to him. Now I had both my side windows wide open. I waved and he waved back; and he shouted to me with great warmth, “I love you!” My eyes filled with tears.
Where in the world could you see such a sight, of a black and a white stranger communing in a dark, foreboding part of town? And where else would you hear a black man tell an unknown, white woman that he loves her?
There’s only one place — and that’s in God’s grace. There’s only one avenue for true unity and love, and that is God’s mercy. No other vehicle or channel exists.
It doesn’t matter how many White Privilege seminars are held, or how many social programs are created. Obama, Eric Holder, Michelle, SEIU. . they won’t bring people together. They want to split us into a million pieces.
The left’s philosophy of racial unity via billy clubs is criminal. Anyone who believes that Obama, et al. will usher in peace and prosperity is lying to himself. The true revolution will not come from flash mobs, or Facebook insurrections, no matter how many people lie bleeding.
Leftists confuse power for force. Force is easy; it’s the tool of cowards. But real power? True power only comes from God.
And that is why my brief encounter with the street preacher moved me so: because I saw in full technicolor, the power of God to change lives and to move mountains.
When God shines His light on us, He brightens the darkest part of town. Black and white and yellow and brown can unite as one, but only if the great conciliator is God.
Because, as the wise street minister preached: it is only God who can heal. It is God alone who can wash away our shame, guilt, grief, and brokenness, and make us whole again.
So I say this directly to you: If anything I have written resonates, even a teeny bit, don’t ignore it. Don’t push what I’m saying under the rug. Don’t wait for a rainy day.
Because one thing is for sure: everyone on this planet will one day breathe his last breath. And we haven’t a clue when that moment will arrive.
We don’t have a minute to lose to restore ourselves before God.
And this: our world desperately needs as many bright lights as possible to illuminate the way during these dark times.