From my last post (part 1 on this same subject), I voiced how intriguing I thought this question was, among all the questions that are asked about this month:
“What does black history teach us about God?”
Though not an all-inclusive list, I envisioned myself sitting with tea in hand, relaxing on a comfy couch, near a window with just the right blend of sun and shade. Here’s what I would say:
- We are all grafted into one family. Within the African-American community and beyond, there is a wealth of hurt, anger, and frustration as our next generation’s history unfolds. There is much division, and even a perceived regression, as we strive to move forward. Sadly, the atmosphere is ripe for heretical teaching as a young generation grows increasingly frustrated with what it sees as an impotent (and in some cases, distracted) church. But if you read the Word, this “crying out of His people” is not new, nor is our Lord surprised. Also, after these events lead into other events—and they will, because we are, again, told so in the Word—one thing remains: Christ, crucified, glorified, and deified. And like plants that thrive, we are nothing with our Root:
There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28)
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5, NIV)
2. The nature of our God cannot be determined–or deterred–by the nature of man. If it were left to some, the life of the African-American might still be one of enslavement. Truth be told, the existence of some of us is still one of enslavement—to materialism and conspicuous consumption, to low expectations, and to behaviors of self-hatred and self-destruction. Some of us have not read to the end of the Book. Man does not define who we are; our identity is in Christ. Or as the old folks might say, “It’s not what people call you; it’s what you answer to.”
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. (John 1:12-13)
My husband and I always speak over our children, even before they fully understand it, in accordance with Deuteronomy 28 that they are head and not the tail, above and not beneath, lender and not borrower, blessed in their going in and their coming out. Everything they put their hands to prospers, and…
3. We can indeed do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13). A few weeks ago in the year 2008, this country inaugurated a Black man as the President of the United States of America. Whatever might be said of his political record, for a group of people largely brought here in chains, that’s impressive. And the progress of the African-American cannot be told without discussing the power of the Word. It was the Word that made Richard Allen realize that he should be able to worship at the altar just as his white counterparts, walk out of the church that subjected him to secondary status, and found the African Methodist Episcopal church. It was the Word that convicted many abolitionists of the need to help transport slaves via the Underground Railroad. It was the Word that was foundational to the building of many of this nation’s HBCUs (historically black colleges and universities) after the American Civil War. It was the Word that helped a southern pastor touch a nation’s heart with four words: I have a dream.
Recently, the film “Hidden Figures,” based upon the life of the African-American female NASA “computer” Katherine Johnson, grossed $130,000,000 worldwide and inspired a host of will-be scientists and mathematicians. There are many hidden figures in our community, and generations of those yet to come. What does black history teach us about God? That through him, we are powerful beyond measure. That because of Him, we pick up our cross daily, knowing that we have ultimate victory. Finally, because He is not done with us yet, we are absolutely. not. done. yet.