“You would do well to pursue your causes with vigor, while remembering that you are a servant of God, not a spokesman for God, and remembering that God might well choose to bless an opposing point of view for reasons that have not yet been revealed to you.” — Barbara Jordan
I love/hate this quote. It came to me serendipitously, attached as a signature on the bottom of an email forward. The kind of thing I would not normally even scroll low enough to see. The forward was actually “People of Wal-Mart,” and the quote was the signature of someone a few senders back, someone I don’t know at all. But I knew it was for me.
It came a few months ago when I found myself in the middle of a situation in which one of my students was being scapegoated by someone who had an axe to grind with our agency. The student was being sacrificed in what amounted to a pissing contest between the agency’s director and the college’s program director. I am a mama bear for my interns, for better or worse. I supported the intern in every way that I could. I wrote letters and went to meetings and I encouraged, and I prayed.
And it started to become clear to me that while I had no doubt we (the intern’s team) were on the side of right and good, we were not going to “win.” I just began to have that sense, even without any confirmation of it.
And the day I began to have that intuition, was the day I noticed that “coincidental” email signature, by someone I don’t know. Except at that point, I knew it was from Someone I do know. It was a note from God. And I said (btw, I wouldn’t recommend this as a response to a note from God), “Oh, shit. It’s not going to go our way, is it?”
I knew that so clearly that I wrote to the intern and told her. She wasn’t going to be vindicated. Not right then, anyway. And we must have faith that our momentary loss was in the service of a greater victory later on. Being a person of faith, and a person who, I think, has come to trust me, she accepted this. Indeed, she may have come to that realization on her own.
Sure enough, many weeks later, someone in a position of power intervened and my intern no longer was oppressed in the way that she had been. The matter is not over. But more people are looking more closely, and our best hope is that the whole matter will lead to an examination of some people and some practices that needed examining.
All that to say, it ain’t over ’til it’s over. That reminds of another quote, I may have used it here before. From Richard Foster in the book, “Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home”:
“God is out to do me good.” And I always add, although the good Mr. Foster did not say, “even when everything looks like shit.”
Keep the faith. Or get you some.