150 Years Later, God Is Still at Work

This is a landmark year. One hundred and fifty years ago, on January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. Some argue that political motives were behind the signing of this proclamation, but I believe God sovereignly moved to right the wrongs in our American system of government and justice.

Dr. Tony Evans addresses the question of what God was up to when He allowed slavery in America. He argues, in Oneness Embraced, that God’s intent for the slave was that they would come to understand who Jesus was through their Christian white masters. After all, they had a robust knowledge of the God of the universe from their own religious systems in Africa.

Dr. Evans further suggests that God’s intent for the white slave master was for them to learn to practice justice. When one has absolute power, it offers an incredible opportunity to exercise justice or to abuse it. Because many didn’t exercise this justice, I believe God intervened and moved on the heart of a President to sign the Emancipation Proclamation:

The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will.” (Prov. 21:1)

 

And that same God is still at work, moving in the hearts of men and women and challenging us to achieve the oneness Christ prayed earnestly that we would demonstrate:

I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me” (John 17:20–23).

It is a oneness that is becoming evident as churches are being planted with a specific intent of reflecting the diversity of the body of Christ. He is working in the hearts of individuals, one by one, by the power of His Spirit.

The following letter from a co-worker brought tears to my eyes. It reminded me how powerfully God is still at work, helping us achieve the kind of oneness that makes the world stop and take notice, and affirming that He is indeed God:

Dear Friend, 

As I look forward to a three-day weekend, it struck me that I have never celebrated the reason for this Holiday (Martin Luther King Jr., Day). 

I feel clumsy, as a white man, figuring out how to participate in the racial reconciliation so wonderfully advanced by Dr. King, yet so much needed to continue, and with such a long, long way to go. I have been reluctant because I am afraid of appearing insincere. I am reluctant because it is easier to remain silent. I am reluctant because speaking up is scary. These are flimsy excuses unworthy of anyone who possesses the blessings of the reconciliation borne on the back of our Blessed Savior.

So I decided to choose four brethren of Color whom I happened to see last week and share my feelings. I am sorry that misunderstandings prevail, and it breaks my heart that racism is still alive and “well,” even in the Church, upon whose ground all were made level at the Cross. 

I want to thank you for accepting me despite the skin I am imprisoned in, while full knowing that the “system” has given me immense advantages I do not deserve, simply because my skin is white.

Thank you for your fellowship and love, dear friends, and for enfleshing Christ to me so profoundly. 

In His Love,

Yes, our awesome, mighty God is still at work. As we just celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. and will mark Black History Month in a few days, how have you seen Him working to achieve this oneness that the world needs desperately to see?

Did you discover God’s Truth today?

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About the Author

Karen Waddles

Karen Waddles

Karen is assistant to the publisher at Moody Publishers, a conference speaker, and contributing author to Our Voices: Issues Facing Black Women in America and The Women of Color Study Bible. She and her husband, George, who has been a pastor for the past 35 years, have four grown children and nine grandchildren. Her greatest joy is seeing women experience the fruit of God's blessings when they apply the principles of biblical womanhood to their lives.

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