Charleston Is the Port of Light

​You never quite realize how dark it is until you are without light. We lose our power occasionally where I live and that is when I realize just how dark it can be. When I lose my electricity, I scramble to find a flashlight…one that actually works. I am not prepared at all for dark times because I am too comfortable with my light source.
Maybe this is our spiritual problem as well.
For many, the mass murder at the Emanuel A.M.E. church in Charleston came by surprise. A young white man entered into a predominantly black church one evening and attended a Bible study. He spent an hour with the people in attendance, heard the Word of God, asked questions and recognized their kindness and yet, this young man still did the unthinkable – he murdered nine innocent people ( who showed him nothing but a perfect picture of God’s love. In the darkness of that night, nine people met their Lord and Savior and this young man some hours later was caught and the world found out the darkness of his crime and he found out the darkness in his jail cell and perhaps the darkness in his own heart.
​Nine innocent people died, but many more were wounded. There are those who were physically wounded in that room, emotionally wounded by witnessing such a horrific crime and spiritually wounded that this kind of thing was able to take place in a church building. There is only One who can bind these wounds.
This young man’s intent was to start a race war. Charleston would seem a perfect place to start such a thing. A few months ago, a white police officer was caught on video shooting an unarmed black man. Racial tensions in America are once again extremely high. This state still flies the confederate flag – a complexity in and of itself.
However, although these incidents have taken place in Charleston, the response in Charleston has been so different. There was no rioting and no additional violence. Instead there have been swift actions and prayer meetings, as well as an unbelievable sense of unity.
(This is one of many crosses standing in Charleston Harbor (and a picture I use in almost every email I send). When I snapped this photo years ago, I thought of what the Cross means and what His living water does for each one of us).
I love the city of Charleston. A few years ago we were even trying to convince God that Charleston was the place we needed to be living (as of the writing of this blog, He has not bitten and we are still in Texas). I love the history of Charleston. I love the architecture of Charleston. I love the people of Charleston. It is a complex city with years of complex issues. In colonial times, Charleston and Boston were “sister cities” and the wealthy from Boston would “summer” in Charleston. It has always been a place of trade and battle because it is a port city.
The first shots of the Civil War rang out in Charleston Harbor in 1861. It was a city with lots of different religious groups. At one point in the beginning of the 19th century to around 1830, Charleston had the largest and wealthiest Jewish community in North America. There were Roman Catholic, Anglican (Episcopalian) and Methodist churches. Slaves were very involved in the religious community. The Emanuel A.M.E. Church was organized solely by free and slave African Americans and was formed in 1816. It is the oldest A.M.E. church in the South and the second oldest in America. 
This church’s roots grow deep. It has seen a lot and survived a lot.
And the enemy tried to attack it and what it stood for - the Gospel, not race.
Emanuel A.M.E. may have a black membership, but it does not discriminate against other races. While it may have seemed odd that a young, white male was attending the fateful meeting, it was not the practice of this church to discriminate.
Because God does not see our skin color. He sees only darkness (evil) and light (good). Darkness and light come in all skin colors.
Satan will never be as wise as his Creator because he does not know God’s plans. Satan does not truly know the hearts of God’s people. Satan has no idea how his plans will work out. He rolls the dice every time hoping for the best, but in this case, Satan came up as a loser.
There will be no race war in Charleston.
Instead, there is prayer, revival and unity.
Satan attempted to take a shot at Charleston in the hopes to start another war, but this time, he failed miserably.
Ephesians 6:12 says, “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”
Our fight is not against one another (although this will escalate in end times…see Matthew 24:9-11) and especially not based on the color of our skin, but is instead a battle against the things that are against God.
Disciples of Jesus always respond in peace because the very nature of Jesus was to bring peace through salvation. This includes all of those who live within Charleston and all of those who do not. Matthew 5:9 says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”

I want to be called a child of God not a friend of Satan, and I hope you do too.
What can we do as believers? Pray the following: 
  1. Pray that Charleston would continue to be an example of unity and Light.
  2. Pray a spirit of protection over Emanuel A.M.E. – over its leaders and its members that they resist the temptations of the enemy.
  3. Pray for the giving and receiving of forgiveness in this city.
  4. Pray that the demonic stronghold of racial hate is evicted from Charleston, as well as every city and town in America.
  5. Pray for all the churches in Charleston to unify and pray this unification extends to the Church across America.
Now is the time for the sons and daughters of God to come together in unity – regardless of denomination, race and geographic location – and take down the enemy that prowls our streets, our homes and our hearts. We cannot be as complacent about our faith as I am about flashlights and batteries in my home.
We know without a doubt that our world is dark, but our God created light in the darkness (Genesis 1:1-3). As one Church unified we can shine brightly in the darkness because He is with us and in us through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Charge it up by reading His Word as your guidebook and plug it in by seeking His Spirit in all things.

Erin Olson

Founder and CEO of Sandalfeet Ministries

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