Advent is a time of anticipation, a time of waiting. We wait for Jesus Christ, the Savior. As I reflect on this season of waiting, I think also of the ~15 million refugees around the world who are waiting for a solution, for the chance to continue their lives outside of the impoverished refugee camps. I think of the people in West Africa who are waiting for the Ebola outbreak to end. I think of the people of the Philippines who are waiting for the natural disasters to cease. I think of the people across the US who are waiting for systemic oppression to disappear. I think of all the people, many of them unknown to me, who are waiting for justice.
Sometimes justice seems unattainable. Or, at best, far too slow. I look at myself and I do not see what I have to offer in the face of injustice. And maybe, alone, I have little.
I was reading something the other day about systemic injustice and oppression. The gist was that people don’t want to believe in systemic injustice because it robs them of control. If systemic injustice didn’t exist, then everything would be much more straightforward. If you just try hard enough, you can break the glass ceiling. The privileged can lay the blame on the individual while failing to notice the ceiling beneath their feet, silently lifting them to easier lives. Fighting something becomes more overwhelming when you realize you cannot do it alone, when you realize you need community to cause change. Even then, the path to justice is not an easy one, and sometimes it is blocked by people we once considered friends.
I am encouraged by the people I work with and by my fellow missionaries, who relentlessly pursue justice day after day, hardship after hardship. They give me hope. They remind me of God’s promises, and that one day there will be justice for all. Together, we are stronger. Together, we wait for justice, and we wait for Jesus.