Justice, Obama, and the Harlem River

I know there are lots of different people with different views that read this blog. I have my friends from the Church who, by and large, are conservative. I have my music friends who are mostly liberal. I even know some who cherry pick from one side or the other. If you know me, you know that I lean conservative and this is mostly on social issues. I’ve lived in overwhelmingly liberal communities a lot, so I’ve learned to just keep quiet and nod when politics comes up. This is a shame, but I know as soon as I express my support for certain positions that I will not just get a disagreement from some liberal friends, but a moral judgment that could threaten their opinion of me as a person. The same goes for select conservative brethren. If, by some chance, I happen to feel that the Left has some insight on a particular issue (I can’t think of one now:) then I am lambasted as not holding to the straight and narrow.

So it is with this disclaimer that I offer you the following words…

A few months ago I was taking a walk along the Harlem River in Manhattan. If you don’t know the geography of New York City, there are several rivers/bodies of water that meet here: Hudson, Harlem, East, Long Island Sound, and, of course, the Atlantic Ocean. I’ve been taking walks and spending time praying as I explore the City and this particular day I felt God say “Pray for justice.” Now, there are those that pray for justice all the time and it is burden on their hearts. Let’s just say it’s not one of my regular prayer topics. So I began to pray in the Spirit for justice; justice in the City, in the Nation, and justice in the lives of my friends and family. As I finished, the Lord began to speak to me. He said that the election of Obama as president is a river of justice for African-Americans. Just as the Harlem River cuts through the rocky land, justice cut through the rock of hard hearts that brought oppression to an entire race and is now bringing about righteousness.

You have to believe me when I say I wasn’t really pursuing this revelation. It was if the Lord wanted to reveal it to me for some reason I’m still not aware of. I am just overwhelmed that He would choose to speak to me at all.

Considering my views and the fact I voted for John McCain, I began to ask God how this could be with Obama’s positions, particularly on abortion. What about justice for the millions of unborn babies that never see life? He answered that I, as a human, could not see justice the way He sees it. We tend to only focus on one thing, one issue at the detriment to all the rest. He can bring about His purpose in as many streams as I could imagine and beyond. He showed me that there was justice coming related to abortion and it would be a wide, mighty river (think of the Mississippi). And not just for abortion and racial injustice, but for all the wrongs that require His ability to make them right. The streams of righteousness are flowing strongly through all the Earth.

The thing all of these “rivers of justice” have in common is that they flow to one place: the ocean. Remember that I said that in New York City many rivers/bodies of water flow into the Atlantic? When I saw that they were metaphors for justice, I asked the Lord if the ocean was a place of judgment or mercy. He conveyed that it could be either. The atrocities committed are more than deserving of judgment, but because of Jesus, because of His sacrifice, the rivers flow together into an ocean of mercy. This mercy stretches as far as we can see like the horizon line on the water that just keeps going. The rivers flow into Him – the true ocean of mercy.

4 Replies to “Justice, Obama, and the Harlem River”

  1. I heard this quote recently in a history podcast I listened to yesterday:

    “For in a warm climate, no man will labour for himself who can make another labour for him. This is so true, that of the proprietors of slaves a very small proportion indeed are ever seen to labour. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever: that considering numbers, nature and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation, is among possible events: that it may become probable by supernatural interference! The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in such a contest.” – Thomas Jefferson: Notes on Virginia

  2. I like how Jefferson says “that his justice cannot sleep for ever.” God will bring His justice. But I think the overwhelming message of the New Testament for all of mankind, offender and offended (which we all are both at some point), is mercy. James 2:13: Mercy triumphs over judgment!

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