NEW Today’s AMI QT Devotional is provided by Stephanie Moon who, together with her husband Jon, serves as a missionary in Coban, Guatemala. She is a graduate of University of Washington (BA) and University of California, Berkeley (MBA).
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“Global Injustice, in Guatemala”
And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. 2 He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. 3 And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ 4 For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” 6 And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. 7 And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? 8 I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
It is more and more evident that we live in a world where the systemic oppression and structural racism is an undeniable reality. Various types of injustice are rampant across the globe, but structural racism is particularly evident. I would reckon that every country has its own forms of racial injustice that pains God’s heart.
We have been able to witness this in our adopted country of Guatemala, where systems of injustice cause rampant inequality between those of Spanish and Mayan descent. In Guatemala, 2% of the population owns over 70% of the land, and 49% of the population lives below the poverty line—the heavy majority of those being indigenous peoples. Many of our church members live on land owned by wealthy landowners and work the land in exchange for ramshackle homes and a small plot of land they can use for substance farming. This arrangement is unjust because the land was forcibly taken from indigenous Mayan populations in the 1500’s through Spanish conquest and the impacts of this are felt even generations later. It is incredibly difficult for those of Mayan descent to accumulate wealth due to the lack of access to land, financial services, capital, and the ever-present underlying inequality.
I am proud that our church, La Gracia, has a mission to raise up the next generation of leaders in our community through education and spiritual formation; but I would be lying if I wasn’t discouraged at times looking at these massive structural and systemic issues. Are we doing enough? Probably not. Is it going to make a grand difference? Unlikely. Does the problem feel overwhelmingly large? Certainly. To the people who are oppressed, are these soul-crushing problems? Absolutely.
But when we get discouraged, it is helpful to turn to God’s word. I find solace in Luke 18 and the message of the persistent widow. It tells us three things:
- Acknowledge that there are unrighteous rulers. People in places of power can be roadblocks instead of vehicles of justice.
- Despite these roadblocks, we must be persistent and vocal when we see areas of injustice. Even the most unjust ruler can be persuaded by persistently bringing the truth to their attention time and time again.
- We have a just God who seeks to bring justice to the world today! He is an all loving and good God that listens to His children.
So, let’s leave the result in the hands of the Lord who will usher in changes as we obey Him; in the meantime, “to this end [we] labor, struggling with all His energy, which so powerfully works in [us]” (Col. 1:29).
Prayer: We pray for those that feel crushed in the face of structural racism and systems of oppression. We pray that we would inspect our own hearts and uncover the ways we perpetrate racism in our communities. We pray for the stamina, love, courage, compassion, patience, and wisdom to keep fighting against injustice that we see in our communities.
Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 50
Lunch Break Study*
Read Philippians 4:21-23: Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me greet you. 22 All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household.* 23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
* Caesar’s household (v. 22) doesn’t refer to blood relatives of Caesar, but rather the servants and guards of the palace (c.f., Phil. 1:13).
Questions to Consider
- How does the apostle Paul address the recipients of his letter?
- What is the significance of the way Paul addressed them the way he did?
- What is the significance of Paul’s conclusion in verse 23?
- Is there someone in your life who needs to know God personally? Ask the Lord for an opportunity to be used by Him to communicate His grace.
- Here, Paul again refers to the believers as saints and brothers (c.f., Phil 1:1).
- At times, we lose sight of our identity in Christ, but Paul begins and ends his letter affirming God’s justifying work in our lives as well as our adoption into His family.
- All the spiritual truths that he desired every saint to know, all the spiritual blessings that he longed for them to experience, all the convictions that he wanted them to have… all of it can be found only in “the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
- Personal response.
Deuteronomy 32:4: “His works are perfect and all his ways are just. A God of truth . . . righteous and upright is he.”
Prayer: “Father, you desire that I seek and inquire of You, to crave You and Your strength, to behold Your face and Your presence, continually and forevermore. I am astounded that You make Your Kingdom and Your righteousness available to me! Father, thank You for Your victory You give me through Jesus. This is the victory that has overcome the world: faith that flows from You, Jesus, my blessed hope. I am confident that Your glorious goodness will be with me all of my life. It is the cry of my heart to believe and speak of Your righteousness and love in all circumstances, and I will! You are always good, upright and just, and available.
Oh, Lord, thank You for revealing more and more of Your very heart and Your character to me. In Your presence, complicated matters become simple, and You encounter my heart in intimacy and wisdom; there is nothing like being in Your presence.”
*Prepared by Pastor David Alas (first posted on September 29, 2013).
**Prepared by Pastor Bruce Yi, the leader pastor of Remnant Westside Church (first posted on September 14, 2013)