Contrarian

Image by ManaliBalsara from Pixabay

It’s almost 1:30 AM and I am still awake.  It is like I am some kind of weird antenna for global unrest and my sensors are humming.  To calm my anxiety, I read a couple of chapters in John McCain’s book, Restless Wave.  His chapter on American Exceptionalism is one of my favorites.  I’ve read it many times and it never fails to inspire me. Try as I might, I can never remember the names of all the dissidents and freedom fighters he writes about in this chapter.  Their names are strange and difficult for me to read, but their stories are so familiar. People standing up and facing severe persecution in their efforts to build more just and equitable societies.  They inspire me. Their stories hum with heroism in the deep places of my soul; strumming unseen strings.

These people might be called contrarians.  They swim against the stream of their fellowmen.  They choose to see a better world instead of profiting off the reality of this one.  How much do we owe to them and their kind? Everything. They are pioneers, trail blazers, and nurturers of that most precious commodity; hope.

Something about the fact that they have suffered greatly for their integrity and ideals gives their lives the transcendent glow of holiness.  Their hope and their efforts inspire me to write again to my representatives in the legislature; to speak truth contrary to popular opinion. The right to speak and to advocate for the oppressed is hard earned and easily lost.  There is no effort too small that it cannot make a difference to a world in need.

My mind returns to the Kurdish people.  Tears spring to my eyes as I think of Rojava and the horrible betrayal that happened last year.  The only tragedy that I can think of that approaches it is the attacks on September 11th. That might seem overdramatic and hyperbolic to some.  What makes the Kurdish people so special that their betrayal would compare to the atrocity of terror that occurred on 9-11 on the people of my own country?  

When we betrayed the Kurds, we drove a spike through the hearts of thousands of heroic men and women around the world who looked to the United States as a symbol of justice, good will, good faith, and commitment to freedom around the world.  Like the planes that took down the towers, those spikes will bring down American influence around the world. The character of the greatest nation the world has ever known has been fatally wounded in a way that an attack from a terrorist could never do.  It destroyed our greatest asset; our reputation. And the wound was self inflicted, by the man America trusted to be her President.

How could I not grieve?  How could I not be angry?  How could I have felt any differently?  I wish that somehow I could undo the damage.  Instead I sit here at my computer, with my heart in my throat.  I pray for the Savior’s grace to fill the massive hole of despair that threatens to overtake it.  My fears for my country and the world mount as the forces of darkness seem to invade the hearts of people everywhere.  There is a thirst for conflict, a lack of basic compassion and empathy, and a failure to strive for unity.

What is driving this enmity?  What fuels this spirit of conflict?  Why are we determined to destroy one another?  Pride. Arrogance. Entitlement. Envy. They are vices that run amok in today’s world.  Their spread is orchestrated by Satan and those who act under his influence. The only power that is capable of saving us is the power of the Only Begotten Son of God.  He is the Prince of Peace and only through Him can the world be saved. I search and I find him in the deepest places of my heart. My soul cries out to him in my anguish and he speaks peace.  “Peace be unto you my daughter, for the Son hath power over all these things and I will work a marvelous work which will confound the wise, for I have not forgotten my people. They hear my voice and my power is in them in every nation, tongue, and people.”  I may not be able to pronounce or remember their names, but they are known to him. He has not forgotten them and although America may fall, He will not.

And yet my faith is weak.  Like Peter, I look at the waves and call out, “Master save me!”  Oh me of little faith. Finally my sedatives are starting to work. It is just after 2:00.  Before I leave my computer, I have one final prayer.

God, Father of Heaven and Earth, please have mercy on me, thy handmaid.  Forgive me of my sins and weaknesses and hear my humble plea. There are so many around the world who are displaced, persecuted, imprisoned, and killed in the struggle for basic human rights.  These are rights I take for granted and have had from my birth. I am no better than them. I am no more deserving of those things. Please, I beg of thee, have mercy on them. Extend to them the blessings I have, if it be thy will.  Inspire them with the vision and hope that they need to carve a path to a better world for their children and grandchildren. Let the light of freedom shine in the dark places of this planet. Let the hearts that have gone cold be met with hearts lit with the fires of liberty.  May those fires never be extinguished no matter how hell rages against them! Let me spread those fires as far and wide as I can, to all those who need to hear my voice, let it resonate in their hearts. Amen.

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