One of the great things about homeschooling is learning things all over again. I now have an appreciation for knowledge. It’s not something forced upon me, but rather something I find fascinating. I have especially enjoyed history. I am ashamed to say, in school I paid as little attention as possible to get the A, and never really tried to LEARN. What a gift this opportunity to truly learn has been to me.
For the first time in I don’t know how many years, I listened to Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech, “I Have a Dream.” I took the time to really listen to the words that so eloquently flowed and sparked a tidal wave in our nation. I listened to his vision for a world that was at the time torn apart by racial injustice and hatred.
After listening to it, I had to go and read it so I could more fully appreciate the depth of his words. He was certainly inspired by the Holy Spirit. I had all my children watch on Youtube a video of his speech; something I intend to repeat each year. I didn’t do this just because I have children of color, I did this because I feel it’s something EVERY child should know and appreciate. There are so many life lessons packed within it. Peacefully standing up for what is right, having courage in face of persecution, striving, despite seemingly impossible odds, for what is right and good. (If you haven’t done this with your children, I would highly recommend you do. It is less than five minutes.)
These words struck me:
“I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.
Suffering. He is talking about suffering and how it does have meaning, it can bring redemption. Suffering for the sake of what is good and holy allows suffering to be bearable. Without this idea of redemptive suffering all our crosses, struggles, and hardships risk leading us to despair. He doesn't tell people to run from their suffering, but instead to turn and face it. To embrace it and know that someday the suffering will bear fruit.
What is redemptive suffering? As with all things, we need only look to Christ. Christ’s suffering and death redeemed the whole word. His suffering set us free from our sin. Our suffering, united to Christ, can in a much lesser way bring about change in ourselves, in our family, or in complete strangers. We may see how our sufferings impacted our life or others for the better, or we may not know until God reveals it to us at our judgement. Dr. King died before he was able to see many of the fruits of his suffering. However, we see them today clearly. We must suffer patiently and trust that God will bring meaning out of it in His time and in His way.
There is much suffering in the world. There is much injustice. We see in our nation today a tendency to respond to injustice with force, with hatred, with ugliness. What is the result? More sadness.
We would all do well to read the words of Martin Luther King Jr. To teach our children to respond to that which is evil and wrong with love and peace. We cannot defeat the darkness with darkness. Darkness can only be overcome by the Light; the Light of Christ!
I pray for our nation that we can live the ideals set forth for us by Dr. King. I pray that his death continues to have meaning and inspire people today to peacefully strive for what is good and holy, to know our sufferings united to Christ bear fruit, and to be willing to lay down our lives for truth. JMJ