I’ve always had a disdain of bullies. Injustices are everywhere and what politicians and bureaucrats have birthed out of our inner-cities is now everywhere. I was too young to do anything about the ‘long march into our American institutions’ but I certainly can shed light on its destructive after-effects on children and families in New York inner-cities.
There’s always truth behind sayings like, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” From my perspective this is about keeping a watchful eye out for potential dangers and acting accordingly when disasters strike.
EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK OF NEHEMIAH
“The wall of Jerusalem is broken and the gates have been burned with fire. The people are in great distress.” This was a message Nehamiah received about his hometown and his people. And when he heard those words, he sat down and wept. He mourned for days, fasting and praying before the God of heaven and finally said one of the most powerful prayers in the Holy Bible:
“O LORD, God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps His covenant of loving devotion with those who love Him and keep His commandments, 6let Your eyes be open and Your ears attentive to hear the prayer that I, Your servant, now pray before You day and night for Your servants, the Israelites … “EXCERPT FROM NEHEMIAH 1:4-5
PLEASE READ BOTTOM OF POST FOR THE ENTIRE PRAYER OF NEHEMIAH
I would be lying to you if I said I enjoyed being foisted back into the inner-cities. This time it was Schenectady, NY. I lived on the first floor of my pastor’s house off Brandywine Ave. It was sheer happenstance that God gave me a small ministry inside those crime-ridden streets. And it all started with one little girl being enamored by my vegetable plants. Honestly, I was just nursing an angry, broken heart over what I was preparing to undergo with my low back. But to this sweet little Guyanese neighbor, who bravely befriended me from her second floor back porch while her mother was at work, I was much more than a broken back.
Truthfully, one must be very careful to engage in any type of ministry inside inner–cities. If God was not working there then I never would have opened my heart – but these were hurting children – something I could relate to. I did my best to be wise – our ministry primarily revolved around attending church and teaching the children how to plant vegetables in the community garden on Hulett Street.
I’d like to say we had decent harvests – but typically everything was stolen – even after building such elaborate forts to keep spying eyes out. Truth be told, I think the girls loved building those above everything else. And I loved that there was a tall, locked fence surrounding us while we worked and spent time nurturing our would-be pilfered veggies. It got the girls off the streets – away from the Brandywine Mosque and anyone seeking to do them harm – and that’s what mattered most.
After Nehamiah wept and prayed for his people, he acted accordingly. Though disaster and scoffers were everywhere, God used him as a leader in rebuilding those broken and defeated Jerusalem walls – and his people did it all with tools in one hand and weapons in the other. WOW! Talk about situational awareness.
Nehemiah 1:4-11 4 When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. 5 Then I said: “Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 6 let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you.7 We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses. 8 “Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, 9 but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.’ 10 “They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand. 11 Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.” I was cupbearer to the king.