We wake up to music, your dad and I. His alarm plays melancholy, all minor tones to match the lyrics.
“I’m tired, I’m worn. My heart is heavy. From the work it takes to keep on breathing.”
Then my alarm goes off to an upbeat pop tune sprinkled with a little rap.
“It’s a good morning! Wake up to a brand new day. This morning, I’m stepping, stepping, stepping on my way. Good morning. You give me strength, you give me just what I need. And I can feel the hope that’s rising in me.”
We each greet our day distinctively. Daddy invites groaning and God welcomes us to do that. He tells us in Romans that all creation, believers and even the Holy Spirit groans because of the weight of sin and it’s effects on the world. Genesis 3 personalizes the curse by gender leaving men to work and toil by the sweat of their brow, day after day for a lifetime without ever fully accomplishing their tasks or reaching their ambitions. And the better part of Ecclesiastes finds Solomon groaning about “life under the sun” so Daddy’s in good company.
I, on the other hand, intentionally embrace hope. Lest I start the first moments of my day spinning into the vortex of anxiety, I wake up to words that focus my spiritual eyes acutely on the fresh mercies of God for this day and celebrate them in my heart even before I know what they will be. And God delights in that too. Gratitude and faith all intermingled and offered up to Him rises like sweet incense into His presence.
In some ways, I’d like for you to think about the events of this past weekend and the Women’s March through that lens, groaning and gratitude. We live in a fallen world and no matter how sincere our longing for justice, corruption leaches into our society because it permeates our individual hearts. Until Christ sets up his Kingdom here on earth as we Christians believe He will, then we will always feel the effects of brokenness personally and societally and no march or war or political candidate or system will eradicate that reality, but for many, the March may have functioned something like Daddy’s alarm. It gave expression to groaning, broadly defined, massive, public groaning.
But it would be reductionistic to conclude my observations there because Saturday’s March also reeked the aroma of sulfur fueled by the prince of evil himself. You see, the stated mission of the March which included a goal to “join in diversity” was effectively violated by the organizers who intentionally excluded pro-life women and the March participants who “harassed, spit on, yelled at and ripped up the posters of women supporting the rights of unborn females”, according to USA Today. It’s no secret that the hingepin of the mainstream women’s organizations is the commitment to secure and retain unrestricted abortion rights. They share other goals as well but abortion rights is central. And there’s no tolerance for any other position in their camp.
And so girls, you are squarely in the middle of incredible paradoxical tension. If you associate yourself with the mainstream women’s rights movements because you believe in social, political and economic equality and oppose injustice toward and oppression of women you conversely align yourself against the protection of the life of the most vulnerable and disenfranchised females (and males) of all.
Many voters felt a different facet of that same tension in November. They considered Trump’s character to be repugnant but their commitment to the marginalized unborn was so steadfast, they could not vote against the only candidate who committed to the sanctity of human life, even though they knew his position might turn out to be nothing more than lip service. And they put themselves in the firing line for all sorts of potshots from self appointed diversity police that slapped derogatory labels all over them unable to recognize their own hypocrisy. You know that I didn’t vote for Trump. I just couldn’t but my friends and family who did have earned my respect for this reason. And at the starting gate, it’s looking like they hedged their bets wisely on this issue.
I tend to be more egalitarian than most of my peer friends when it comes to the role of women. And you know how I feel about doormat syndrome. I abhor sexual slavery, exploitation and pornography. I oppose unequal pay for equal work and I reject racial discrimination toward women (and men). But I caution you about Feminism, at least the brand name. Besides the fact that it’s married to the pro-abortion agenda, it subtly undermines many of the unique distinctions that God gifted his imago dei with uniquely as women and as men. The brand promotes self-centeredness while God elevates altruism. There is nothing more self aggrandizing that killing your child for your own convenience. And for all of the hostile shrieks directed at men who practice chivalry, Disney princess movies are still timeless blockbusters. Go figure. Maybe todays young women really do want to be cherished and protected and if they don’t yet, I expect they will in a decade or two.
And you may think you want all of the same opportunities as men but demanding them in the military eventually results in drafting women and maybe not all women have something to prove about equal strength.
So my perspective on injustice toward women is to absolutely Feel it. Groan it. And Pray it.
But then, don’t forget to listen to my alarm song too because women also have incredible innate opportunities and privileges interwoven with God’s amazingly creative design and if we channel them for good, we are primed to recognize and appreciate God’s fresh, new mercies in each day.
Never undervalue your reproductive system. There’s a temptation to curse it about every 28 days but nobody else except women get to live the miracle of growing image bearers of God inside their body, then birthing them and after that nurturing and training them to continue Kingdom work on this broken earth until Jesus comes back and makes all things new. All those other rights women grasp for, they’re knock offs but the genuine article is to marry wisely so you can form a strong, healthy family and fulfill God’s mandate through the miracle. So don’t undercut motherhood. It might sound old fashioned but it’s actually God’s best idea and His design never goes out of style.
And I challenge you to consider love and justice relationally not just institutionally because you can’t control the machine. This week’s inauguration is a poignant reminder of that reality. But you are not powerless, nevertheless. Look around you and you will see that God has already given you everything you need to love and serve the marginalized and the unmarginalized people He’s sovereignly chosen to put in your life for this season and nothing the government, its policies or it’s Commander and Chief does can take that away from you. You can’t blame the government if you miss your opportunity to roll up your sleeves and adopt an orphan, volunteer at a nursing home or crisis pregnancy center, mentor younger women and girls, teach ESL to immigrants, befriend the neighbor who is a different race than you are and dialogue about your lives, values and perspectives. Give generously to charities that serve to provide water for the thirsty physically and spiritually, treat your gender confused co-workers with compassion rather than contempt because we’re all fighting our own hard battles. Help the refugees settling in your town to find hope as they courageously forge a future here.
The list of ways to put feet to the gospel of peace is limited only by your creativity and imagination. And always do everything you do in the name and power and love of Jesus.
You don’t realize it yet but life slips by as illusively as fog evaporates. Someday you’ll look back on today and your far-sighted vision will have gained acuity and you’ll realize that life is just too short to invest your time any other way because every day of this presidential term and everyday God gives us to live and love as citizens of this country at this time in this world is a gift. And every fresh new morning His mercies are new and abundant and surprising for those who will actually engage the work of being on the lookout for them. And that makes this morning and every morning a Good Morning.