Yesterday, after the final moments of the infamous trial in Minneapolis, the governor appeared in a press conference. Throughout his opening remarks he used this phrase over and over again. “We can’t live like this.” He used those words to stress the fear our state has been enduring for far too long. He spoke about the ravages that have occurred in 2020 and 2021. The fact that a thousand businesses were ruined in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death. Many of which were owned by people of color. He spoke words like – trauma, pain, demands, change, fear and rage.
In the past year, we’ve been striving to exist through a pandemic which has divided us in so many ways. We struggled through this time of isolation, finding new ways of doing things in time of crisis. Americans have always done well under pressure, but we sometimes wonder how much of this can we take. “We can’t live like this.”
During that year, we were forced into our homes, separated from our families, unable to bury our dead or watch our children graduate or get married. We adjusted. We then had an election that divided our nation even more. We feared for the safety of our leaders as well as those we love. We watched as the divisions split us even further. We adjusted. Inequality on our streets became more apparent. Protests turned violent, businesses were destroyed, blood was shed. We became the headline of the day for many months as the killing of a black man by a police officer was made public. The thought of a fair trial seemed impossible. We adjusted. Demands for justice – voices for change in our policing – calls for removing weapons from our public defenders. “We can’t live like this.”
During that year we also were told to be vaccinated for COVID19. We were told this was the only way to lessen the effects and possible death from this plague. Everyone rushed to do so. Some refused, because the vaccine was never approved by the FDA. New cases began to break out. There were variants of the disease which would not respond to the vaccine. Our minds asked if we did the right thing by getting shot. We lived through it, but still wonder if it was the right thing to do. Some felt we were being led like sheep to the slaughter. Again, fears arise and people hide – within the confines of their homes, in the comfort of self-healing, prayer, reading, hoping to erase the outside world from view. Fear is winning. “We can’t live like this.”
A week ago, another black man is shot and killed by a police officer. That along with the trial of Derek Chauvin going to a jury for deliberation has set another climate of fear in our city. Those of us who shy away from watching or listening to the news, are more alert to what’s happening on a daily basis, because of curfew alerts that pop up on our phones. Our city is living on the edge. We’re living in fear. “We can’t live like this.” A peacetime emergency order was issued yesterday to call upon other states to aid in the possible riots, looting, more blood in the streets and dissent. Will that change things? Will we adjust to this as a way of life? Will we succumb to fear? “We can’t live like this.”
Obviously there are no clear answers here. Time will be a factor in all of it. Change doesn’t happen over night. Quelling someone’s fears takes time. Calming a crowd of angry protestors will probably not happen by stirring it up with tear gas. So how do we live like this, without fear? We can, you know. We have a remarkable source of comfort in the fact that God is with us through all of our suffering, pain and fear. He has walked in our shoes. He took on human flesh so He could experience all the fears we live through each day. He died to prove His love for us. He bled so we wouldn’t have to. He paid the price for our place in His heavenly realm. He rose and returned to heaven and will be there to greet us when we die. No fear of death, no fear of life, no fear in anything the world can throw at us – only the confidence that God is in control. Through Him, we can and will live through this.
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1