We shall overcome…when?

race relations

Photo by © Focus Pocus LTD • Fotolia

Last Sunday during worship, in honor of the Charleston shooting victims, we sang the old spiritual: We shall overcome … someday.

And I had to stop singing because I choked. This is not a rare occurrence. I frequently use up a tissue or three in worship. But usually it’s because I’m overwhelmed by the love of a Savior who died for me, wretched person that I am.

But on Sunday, what broke my heart was this: People were singing this song fifty years ago.

Fifty. Years.

Yet here we are, still singing we will overcome … someday.

Why is it still someday? Why not now? Why have we not yet overcome?

We have made great progress, but we are not there yet. I fear that as long as we are wearing flesh we’ll struggle with hate and violence in one form or another. If we don’t hate on each other because of our skin color, language, religion, or political affiliation, we’ll find even stupider stuff to hate on each other about, like what we wear or our stance on singular they.

Hate has its place. We are told of many things the Lord hates. Injustice. Idolatry. Hypocrisy.

If only we could focus our hate on those things instead of the stupid stuff.

I suppose we’ll be struggling to overcome stupidity and racism and injustice until the kingdom literally comes. But it is worth the struggle. We are called to love justice. Press ahead, brothers and sisters. Press ahead.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NIV)



About Kristen Stieffel

Kristen Stieffel is a writer and freelance editor specializing in speculative fiction. She's a member of the Editorial Freelancers Association, Christian Editor Connection, and American Christian Fiction Writers.

2 comments on “We shall overcome…when?

  1. Day by day we overcome. I have over come so much step by step because life is perceived as a linear process.
    The new song is: I have overcome today.
    When songs are wistful, they create an impossibility and sort of never never.
    Positively affirming the truth of each correct action enables us to see how far we have come.
    The world is finite but God’s love never changes…. We are all overcomers and live in the promised land if we just believe it.

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