Left Justified: A message from God

I sat straight up in bed.

Was it a dream, or had God spoken to me?

“Can’t you get it right? You are supposed to help one another!”

“You are on a dust ball spinning around a finite sun, which could get struck by a meteorite. Use your God-given brain!”

“You should’ve figured out how to visit the other planets by now, instead you can’t even cure the common cold.”

“Your cancers are getting worse, use your God-given brains to extend life and wipe out disease.”

The words were still ringing in my ears. Maybe I’d fallen asleep with the TV on again? No, and the radio’s off, too. Slowly, I got up and wandered into the bathroom. I don’t usually hear voices, and this one unnerved me.

As I pondered the sense (which it had made a lot of) in my mind, I went back to the fights I’ve been having with death. First, Jon Lundin, Rockford historian and entrepreneur, was taken from us. Then, friends and family members.

Now, I just heard of Betty Johnson’s demise. She’d been a member of Rockford League of Women Voters and always spoke out for clean air, water and a better environment. Betty talked an anti-nuclear group I was with to intervene against ComEd’s Byron Nuclear Power Plant licensing (back then, we called the company “un-Commonly-wealthy” Edison —they still are).

We won a great victory in 1984, the first (and only) denial of an operating license to a “nuke,” and they had to re-inspect a lot of wiring. Byron is presently one of the safest plants in the country, and Betty made it happen.

Maybe the voice was Betty’s. She’d been harping about our groundwater here in Winnebago County when she showed signs of Alzheimer’s. Her family moved her to Florida, where she died just two weeks ago.

But no, the voice was distinctly male, though I’m not sure what someone who’s “passed on” sounds like.

“Use your God-given brains.” That’s what I’d like to tell our congressman. He believes in God, but also believes in the war. I think the Christian right exercised too much faith when they invaded Iraq (yet, there were millions of protesting Americans on the streets who “had faith” that the war was wrong).

Let me tell you, God doesn’t like killing. It’s in all the major faiths. Of course, fundamentalists in all faiths are arming themselves to kill each other.

“Be kind to one another,” is what I believe God is trying to tell us. But this voice was even more specific: “Your cancers are getting worse, use your God-given brains to extend life and wipe out disease.” Oh, how I pray that we would!

Of course, that would take a lot of money, say about the amount we spend on the war in Iraq?

As I went back to sleep, I prayed not to hear any more voices. “God, tell someone who can make a difference. Tell it to Manzullo.”

Stanley Campbell is executive director of Rockford Urban Ministries and spokesman for Rockford Peace & Justice.

from the June 27-July 4, 2007, issue

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