“How long, O Lord? How long will the wicked be allowed to gloat?” How long will they speak with arrogance? How long will these evil people boast? They crush your people, Lord, hurting those you claim as your own. They will kill widows and foreigners and murder orphans…You give them relief from troubled times until a pit is dug to capture the wicked. The Lord will not reject His people, He will not abandon His special possession.” Psalm 94:3-6;13-14, NLT “How Much Is Too Much?”
An iconic photo caught my attention recently, which speaks to the pain and pathos of a people who have borne the burden of evil over generations. The seven beautiful people on the photo, were the family of a 96-yer old, Ruth Whitfield, their matriarch, who was brutally murdered along with 10 other African Americans by a young white supremacist at a major supermarket in Buffalo, New York. The beautiful faces of Mrs. Whitfield’s family were subdued and grimaced with pain as they, like so many of us, wondered, how much of this evil will generations have to endure? These gruesome murders were not the result of a deranged person, but of a killer well tutored by some ignorant people who espouse generational hatred toward Blacks, immigrants, and others they opine are “different.”
East Buffalo, with a predominant civic-minded, creative, and proud Black community, became the perfect target for racist-domestic terrorism. Such evil and the pain it produces is nothing new. The psalmist captured the anguish of a community in such pain, and he chronicled their anguish: “How long…?” There’s nothing disrespectful of God, when in our shrill anger and hurt, we raise such a question. It is the nature of tragedy, to question the awful circumstances that come upon us unawares. If we are attacked, we will bleed. If we are offended, we will be angry. But this is not the end. As with the psalmist, we know that there is a God who will vindicate us. He does not tolerate injustice and evil, without a response. Any injustice is too much. Any violence is too much. The wicked will be defeated, always!