Last night, I had the privilege to be part of a large multi-generational and multi-racial discussion group at a church in Grand Rapids.   The topic was,  “Ferguson and Michael Brown – How do we respond?”

Let’s say that the 2 hours went by extremely quickly and I was saddened, frightened, sobered, encouraged, engaged and felt the presence of God in many ways.    I’m not going to get in to a lot of the details and my thoughts about it right now – I’ve got enough writing material to keep me busy for quite a while just exploring the thoughts that were expressed there.

But this morning, in my personal devotions, I read part of Romans 15.   Particularly verse 13 spoke to me,  “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

These are disturbing times that we live in.   But God says, be at peace and trust in me.   God also says to overflow in hope through the Holy Spirit.    Hope for what?

Hope for the return of Jesus to end the pain and suffering in this world?    I hear that quite often from many of my friends who are suffering or are witness to suffering.    I think that’s a very valid point.

But also, hope that God will bring change, will bring peace and will make this world more like He intended it to.    Several of the people who shared about their story as it relates to racism and Ferguson said that until God, through the Holy Spirit, came into their lives, they were angry, bitter and felt rejected.

God can change that.   He can change us.

Are we willing?

I’ll have a lot more as time goes on…….

Tom