At 6,000 feet high, seated in a single engine Cessna next to my husband at the controls, my mind ran a marathon of thoughts about what it means to be concerned with what concerns the ones I love. As we flew along the beautiful coast line of California, making our way from the sandy beaches of Orange County to the coastal cliffs, rolling hills and mountains of Big Sur, I realized that I would have never agreed to sit in a teeny-tiny airplane for those 3 hours if it wasn’t my husband doing the flying.
Before I met my husband, I couldn’t tell you the difference between planes other than some are big and some are small; some are painted cool colors and designs and some not so much. That changed quickly though as I fell in love with my husband because he is passionate about flying. It’s true isn’t it that what concerns the ones we love concerns us? After years of learning about the aviation industry from my husband I can now identify types of planes by their details like the way the wings tip or by how many wheels they have.
Similarly, when one draws close to the heart of God, their heart begins to line up with Gods and beat in the same rhythm and for the same purpose.
To buy, sell and so violently abuse a fellow human is one of the greatest evils of our time. To oppress and enslave a child of God is to strip them from the very intent God designed for them, namely, dignity, value and free will. Modern day slavery is so horrific, so deplorable and dark, it is painful to see, acknowledge, and talk about. It’s much easier to ignore it and go about our own business.
A funny thing takes place however, the closer you become with God. Suddenly, what concerns him, concerns you too. Isaiah 58 is such a great illustration of this because God basically hand delivers a neon sign of what’s important to him and what ought to concern us.
This is the kind of fast day I’m after: to break the chains of injustice, get rid of exploitation in the workplace, free the oppressed, cancel debts. What I’m interested in seeing you do is: sharing your food with the hungry, inviting the homeless poor into your homes, putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad, being available to your own families. Do this and the lights will turn on, and your lives will turn around at once. Your righteousness will pave your way. The God of glory will secure your passage. Then when you pray, God will answer. You’ll call out for help and I’ll say, ‘Here I am.’ (Is. 58:6-9, The Message).
Breaking chains of injustice, fighting exploitation, freeing the oppressed, canceling debts, sharing food, clothes and inviting the homeless into your home is scary and not at all easy. And it is the business of our God and the work he invites us into. Why? Because it is by our love that others will know that God is a good and loving God. As we align our hearts with his, we’ll fall into step with his steps and he will bless us beyond what we could ever imagine. Just look at the end of the passage above. Our lives will radically change and he will always be with us; always.
And we will find the courage to fight for freedom for those enslaved, care for and walk besides survivors of abuse as they move towards healing and restoration and we will befriend our local homeless with love and compassion. There will absolutely be unknowns when we seek God and his justice. We may even find ourselves 6,000 feet up doing what we never thought we’d have the courage to do, yet feeling absolutely safe and assured of the One in the pilot seat.