God in the Uprising

I am not someone who experiences anger regularly. In fact, it is often difficult for me to tap into anger. It is an emotion that brings me a great deal of discomfort, an emotion that does not “feel good.” Lately, though, I have been angry. Some days I feel like a volcano that is about to explode.

This anger I feel is fueled by the hate I see in our world, the injustice I witness on a daily basis, and the fear that causes division. It is ignited by loved ones losing their jobs; people dying alone, without their loved ones by their side; essential workers risking their lives, without the personal protective equipment they need, to ensure we have food and access to health care. My rage is further fueled as I sit with the reality of our undocumented brothers and sisters.

As a United States citizen, I received a stimulus check from the federal government a few weeks ago. My husband, being a citizen as well, also received a check. We both have had the privilege of working from home since the shelter-in-place order arrived and have not lost our jobs, so we will survive this pandemic financially. In fact, we will likely come out ahead, as we are saving money by not going out and have been able to tackle several home improvement projects during this time. The stimulus check from the government was a nice gesture, but it actually made me angry.

As I stared at my bank account where the check was directly deposited while learning about all the people who were excluded, my anger continued to rise within me. If you are undocumented, you did not receive a check. If your parents are undocumented, they did not receive a check. If you were born in the United States (and are under 18) but your parents were not, they did not receive a check for you. Do you see a pattern? The people who need this check the most did not receive it.

Overcome by anger, I turned to Jesus, who also experienced anger. When Jesus turned the tables at the temple (Mark 11:15-17), he did so because the people who were trying to encounter God there were being excluded; they were being taken advantage of and mistreated. Sound familiar?

It was through prayer that I was able to channel this uprising within me. An organization my husband works closely with, Aliento, reached out to us. At the time we received our check, they were starting a campaign to raise money for all those undocumented men, women, and children who did not receive these funds from the government. Together, we decided to donate a large portion of our check to Aliento, who would then sponsor families who are in need. Sure, a little extra cash in our bank account would have been nice, but using the money to help our brothers and sisters who are in need and have added so much richness and beauty to our country — these essential members of our community — is even better.

This act — taking money that was given to me by the federal government, which excluded many, and donating it to an organization that would help those very people who were excluded — allowed me to channel my righteous anger and subvert a system of oppression and injustice.

This is an uprising, and God is present here.

For more on how Jesus calls us to an uprising by being the authority of our hearts, check out the third night of our global Life Night series, “You Won’t Find Jesus Here?” right here.