Hope Beyond Oppression

Sometimes tears are the only salve to soothe the pain?
Sometimes tears are the only salve to soothe the pain?

Hope Beyond Oppression

Again, I observed all the acts of oppression being done under the sun. Look at the tears of those who are oppressed; they have no one to comfort them. Power is with those who oppress them; they have no one to comfort them. So I admired the dead, who have already died, more than the living, who are still alive. But better than either of them is the one who has not yet existed, who has not seen the evil activity that is done under the sun. Eccl 4:1-3 (HCSB)

According to the Webster’s Dictionary, oppression is the exercise of authority or power in a burdensome, cruel, or unjust manner. How many places and how many ways does oppression afflict people? We can read or listen to stories of political oppression, religious oppression, financial oppression, and racial oppression every single day. Wherever oppression is identified, there must always be someone exercising authority and power to cause the oppression. Wherever oppression resides an oppressor must also exist. Whenever the oppressed can identify the oppressor blame for the burdensome, cruel, or unjust circumstances can be directed. When the oppressed senses no hope in their present circumstances depression results. When depression swoops down upon the oppressed, their growing dark feelings of helplessness and hopelessness stir up relentless whining, begging someone, anyone, to rescue them. Many resort to woeful prayers because they sense God turned his back on their life and he ultimately is to blame for the oppression crushing their spirit. Yes, sadly but true, history records people since the dawn of civilization have even offered up God as the scapegoat for their oppression. Why should we be any different?

So where does hope reside? Before, during or after our oppression. According to the author of today’s passage, little hope resides during oppression. Tears offer little comfort as the oppression morphs into deeper and darker states of depression and the heart is squeezed dry of hope. As all hope escapes through the final tears, the oppressed recognizes only the dead can escape the unrelenting oppression they are under. Even if a miracle occurs and the oppressed find relief from a helping hand, the scarred survivors tremble for fear the return of oppression.

What about the unborn? Each new born enters the world naïve to oppression, but also hope. How can anyone understand the value of hope if there exists no need for it?

I believe, in every circumstance we are called to face in this life, a choice exists: We can trust the authority and power within us to resist the threats of oppression. We are only become a victim of oppression when we choose to abdicate our authority and power and become a victim. Our eternal hope that strengthens each off us is God-given. That hope flows through us as long as we live trusting God’s will, walking in God’s ways, and seeking God’s wisdom. That vibrant hope feeds our confidence to face all circumstances that may rise against us because we the source of our hope is our refuge and redeemer. Of course, I also believe that God undoubtedly and most assuredly orchestrates his will and purpose through the choices we make as circumstances arise intended to strengthen our faith, the anchor and life-blood of our hope. What prevents fear in the face of oppression? We know God’s love, compassion and mercy is always in reach.

When we place our faith in God, it matters not what threat oppression poses today. If hope reigns within you, no worldly authority or power can coerce us to become a helpless victim, a slave to the oppression of others. A helpless victim relents; a victor resists. The victor embraces by faith the hope that resides within our hearts — a golden gift from God. The victor confidently walks through life, no matter the circumstances and challenges, confronting oppression when it threatens as an opportunity to earn God’s smile.


Words of Wisdom #226-10EC

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Retired, writing a contemporary mystery series, the Shiloh Mysteries. The first story is titled, "Sanctuary, A Legacy of Memories". The sequel is "Testament, An Unexpected Return." The third is due out in Fall 2019, Purgatory, A Progeny's Quest." TMBrownAuthor.com

2 thoughts on “Hope Beyond Oppression”

  1. Hi Coach,
    You do a very nice job of addressing so much which defeats us within our lives, but Mike–If you read, “Pinkhoneysuckle,” I think you’d understand why so many of us know not who to blame. I grew up singing, “Standing On The Promises That Cannot Fail,” and hardly claiming middle age filled with so much religious education, book education, psychotherapy after what no one knew as PTSD–I am amazed that as many people make it as we do. Our first memories are often violence filled, and we forgive all, Pray, Preach, Write, and Bear Witness–But sometimes it is so hard not to feel persecuted.// One component of Bible Belt Raising was the, “Denial.” “Don’t get people in our business!” “Now you know we all love you little kids,” but we’d learn so early that love was conditional. Come in with a smile on your face, and that welt across your cheek, or the torment of being a little girl needing guidance–The blind eye was turned. Mid-Century America used it’s back roads people. Christmas and birthdays were simply every one else’s time except for the back roads kids and old people. My second brother stopped by a disabled man and his mothers one Christmas, and he found people worse off than us, and he cried to help them, so Mama sent them canned beets, her cucumber pickles, and some jelly.That was what we were down to as well–One neighbor would call us as kids to eat at her house, for Mama would have taken to her depression bed. I could not believe that town folks saw to each other, then they’d come down and give us a dollar per bucket of blackberries. Finally in writing, “Pinkhoneysuckle,” I wanted to state that poor children and the elderly are not invisible–Get off on those back roads. No one desired, “Charity,” but it is not charity until the people who are giving cannot look at the people, offering some community resources, and not letting their kids play with you because you are poor.I seriously believe those who stand before God and who have to be reminded how they shamed those of us completely without need to let those tears of blindness clean out their eye sockets and see a review of all of the man made slaves of the back road who would shamefully give us a dollar a gallon for blackberries. Those who came when our labor filled a garden for their gifts of what we grew. Those who hurt with their mean words to continue class differences–They are as much of the cycle of abuse as those who struck us or worse. People rationalized all such behaviors and came in church with Sunday smiles. God is the one to whom their blindness is accountable.// Welfare has ruined so many who would work at anything and everything, but keeping the poor in their place is as old as the scriptures. I never asked; “Where are you Lord,” for we were made to feel that people like us got what we deserved for my mother had 8 children. That does not blend with, “Right To Life.” I know that you are a good, generous pastor, and you have a lovely wife, but I did ask myself; “Where were you Lord?” The children we were in, “Pinkhoneysuckle,” has little to do with the grown ups we became, though a few of the kids just said, “The heck with all of this religious teaching,” for they did not see it but once upon a funeral or two.

    Bless your work–And keep writing coach.
    Lovingly In His Care, Barbara

  2. Dear Barbara,
    Once again it is a blessing to receive your heartfelt thoughts. I agree sadly with your observations, and realize historically society can wear blinders and prefers to not look too closely in the shadows. Your comment on charity is compelling because as the KJV uses it in Old English – charity means God’s eternal agape love. God offers his charity (compassion and mercy) without expectation in return, but man only offers charity when there is some form of “ego” reward. “Ego” in the broad sense of self-gratification or mollification. Welfare and handouts are temporary, self-serving actions. Investing time, resources and a lot of patience to teach and truly reach the hearts, souls and minds of the forlorn to transform them from being reliant upon daily handouts to self-sufficient productive providers for themselves and their families is true charity. Yet, man must first exorcize their selfish motives, their egos, removing their blinders and allowing God’s light to shine into the shadows where real need exists and genuine charity would reap the greatest rewards of heavenly applause. Thank you for your touching recall of the unfortunate life you experienced. Coach

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