God’s Change…

Sam Cooke sang, “A Change is Gonna Come” with incredible power.

It reflected what he believed to be true: it was the 1960’s and Jim Crow was alive and kicking. He couldn’t even hang out with his friends without getting arrested. Couldn’t stay in the hotels he headlined.

But he knew that change was coming.

So, the depth of his song was real. It was deep. It was hopeful.


Nothing changes for the good without hope. To hope is to desire for something with the expectation of its fulfillment. Some people desire for a lot of things, but they stop giving themselves permission to expect fulfillment. Have you ever seen a child who has been so incredibly disappointed over and over again that the light has gone out of the eyes? Momma has promised so many times…Daddy has promised so many times…and neither have done anything but disappoint.

They desire…but they no longer expect to be fulfilled.

Desire that has no hope to end in fulfillment becomes bitterness, depression (rage turned inward) or senseless violence (rage turned outward).

I think that the genius of the civil rights movement, and its enduring lesson to us now, is that the most beloved leaders engaged the young people in such a special way. They honored their real struggles, pains, stories and potential and helped them take their hopes in hand and work toward fulfillment. Maybe they were able to do that because they were still close to their own real struggles. Maybe, because the struggle was a shared struggle.

Today — adults struggle on their own. Youth struggle on their own. We are so sadly disconnected, living in silos and vacuums — but we need each other.

Our fight is one, and we struggle not against each other but against “powers and principalities.”

Racism. Poverty. Militarism. Individualism. Consumerism….sin.

These powers have us, our families, our communities, our country in their grip. We need the grace of God, for sure, and we need each other.

So, what do we need for hope to end in fulfillment?

Sam wrote:

“Then I go to my brother, and I say, “Brother, help me please!”

But he winds up knocking me on my knees.”

It’s been a long time coming, but I know a change is gonna come.

For hope to end in fulfillment, for us to know with certainty that everything under the power of God will ultimately change for the good of them that love the Lord — we need a deep understanding that the God who love us has us, our enemies, our brothers and sisters – all of us — in God’s hand. The pain inflicted by a brother who knocks us when we are down is real. But so is God’s ability to love us toward restoration.

What does all of this mean for today’s young people — and you who walk with them? It means that in addition to teaching skills to survive and thrive, we must also model for them how to hope with expectation, hope with busy hands, hope with movable feet, hope with determination…hope with an open book, hope by helping someone else.

It means that one of the most important lessons we can teach our children is that they are required to participate in their own liberation (our liberation) and freedom means nothing outside of community.

It means that we don’t harbor hate against our brothers and sisters who “knock us.” That’s wasted energy, energy that only feeds bitterness.

There have been times that I thought I couldn’t last for long

But now I think I’m able to carry on.”

It’s been a long time coming, but I know a change is gonna come.

Feeling like we are at the end of our rope and unable to carry on another moment is real. But that moment changes, that moment is transformed because of God’s power, ability and will — and the collective testimonies of the people. Frayed and tattered ends of the rope represents nothing more than God’s changing station with hope. The end is God’s greatest starting place.

God’s change is coming.

By avoiceinramah

Following The Way. Wife, Mom, Pastor, RevSisterGirlfriend, Advocate. Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman. I believe another world is possible.

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