A couple of weeks ago, as we were in conversation with a couple of girls, a car pulled up. “Is that the cops?” one of the girls asked, “I don’t recognize that guy.” The other was pretty sure it wasn’t so our conversation continued, but the car turned the corner and parked right next to us. We all looked again at the car and one of the girls said, “That’s definitely the cops. I’m gonna run”. Immediately, two undercover cops jumped out of the vehicle, one yelling, “Don’t make me come after you. If you run it’s going to be worse for you”.

We stepped back reluctantly as the policemen stepped in and immediately starting questioning the girls, making them stand against the wall. In that moment, my blood began to rise. I knew that I could not step in. I knew that the police were just trying to do their jobs. But as I watched the girls get handcuffed, put in a car, and taken to the police station, I also knew that treating them as criminals was not just.

I hate feeling helpless to act. Ten feet from the girls, but unable to interfere with the police. Ten feet from the girls, but unable to help them in any way. Ten feet from the girls, but still ten feet from them, just a bystander looking on.

It is difficult to not feel dejected at my inability to help and angered by the injustice of the situation. But moments like this make me thankful for Jesus who is not just a bystander, Jesus who intercedes for us, the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, and God whose ways are all just. I am reminded of our feeble human state and our desperate need for an all-powerful Savior.