It’s been a long time since I wrote something during the day and published it immediately upon finishing. This is what happens when you come back from The Influence Conference suffering from
the plague a cold and stay home from work the next day.
“I should like to call you by name, but they have lost the lists…”
I don’t know that I would call this my favorite quote, but it’s the one that’s seized my heart the hardest, the one that sticks in my mind when I hear of injustice perpetuated and my heart grieves sore. Maybe something being your favorite means not that you have chosen it, but that it has chosen you to return to again and again.
I thought of it as I finished reading David Remnick’s Lenin’s Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire, which is where I read it in the first place. (If you’re interested in Russian or Soviet history, this is a must-read; it won a Pulitzer Prize.)
I thought of it as I read tweet after news story after tweet about people dying at the hands of police last year.
I thought of it as I saw tweet after cross in churchyard after tweet about babies dying in abortions.
I thought of it as I read about Christians killed in Turkey in the 1920s, in what our government refuses to acknowledge as a genocide. (Read: The Great Fire: One American’s Mission to Rescue Victims of the 20th Century’s First Genocide by Lou Ureneck)
I thought of it as I read about Holocaust survivors, but even more, about the people who died during it. I thought of it as I remembered my next-door neighbors, both of whom survived the Nazis’ killing machine and at least one of whom survived Auschwitz.
I thought of it every time I came face-to-face with death and destruction, every time I looked up at heaven in angry confusion, every time I heard another story of someone losing his life because somebody else thought he had a right to take it. I want to call the names of these people but there are too many or we don’t know them or we never gave them any or there are too many.
I painted an anchor because there is one thing I know: The Rock of Ages is solid ground on which to stand. I don’t know a whole lot else than that and sometimes I struggle to know even that. But when I remember the Rock is solid ground, I remember God sees all of this and He calls every name. He names the millions who died under Stalin, the millions who died under Hitler, the millions who died in Turkey and Rwanda and under ISIS, because He knows all of those names. He gives names to the babies who die in the names of women’s rights and He calls them too. He calls our names when we’re blinded by despair or caught in our sin and He sets us free.
“I should like to call you all by name, but they have lost the lists…”, but He hasn’t, and He won’t.
There is not much that can comfort me when I mourn lives lost from injustice. But knowing He is the anchor of my soul, the Rock that lends hope in its steadiness, is the one thing that does.