Many of you know that, after several months of praying for our neighbors, a battle arose in which we actually came to know our neighbors, care sincerely for them, and join along side them. In the past posts, the saga of Columbia University’s take over of Haven Avenue covered our victory and subsequent defeat. In Defeat and Confusion – Lord, Press On! I described hope arising with in a New York Times reporter who interviewed us extensively. We prayed for a ‘Watergate breakthrough’…. That was four weeks ago! The reporter told us last week that it’s coming a-n-y day now.
As Columbia gets set to launch their campus expansion, another development arose, championed by the same Councilman, Ydanis Rodriguez! After selling out the residents of Haven Avenue, he spearheaded a major plan by outside developers to rezone Inwood, the northern part of our neighborhood. This plan would open the gates to commercial and luxury development, zoning out much of the affordable housing and small businesses.
I will not post details or sources, but there is a lot of money shuffling under the table.
I am all for renewal and upgrade but in NYC, rezoning results in gentrification and displacement of working class families. The Councilman in Williamsburg, for example, pointed out that rezoning displaced 30,000 Hispanics from his catchment area. Inwood is 71% Hispanic.
I totally understand that, as this world spins into the last days and coming judgment, these issues may count for nothing. Admittedly, we are not facing famine, human trafficking, or persecution. But the Lord doesn’t require desperate and dire need to care and intervene. When He fed over 5,000, described in Matthew 14, they weren’t starving to death. They weren’t even asking Him for food! But Jesus had compassion for their present need.
Will blocks of Haven Avenue soon close and morph into a campus? Will the ax fall on Inwood, final vote for rezoning on Wednesday, August 8th? It certainly looks that way!
It’s time to either quit or go deeper.
There is a protest march this evening in Inwood, calling for the City Council to vote against the rezoning. Rodriguez, a lame duck in his current office, refuses the outcry of his constituents. The grapevine describes his sites upon the office of Public Advocate. Laugh/cry moment here!
How does a believer go deeper when the battle seems lost?
The only way to go deeper into the battle is shutting in with the Lord. While the world turns with backroom deals, the Kingdom of God advances through faith. Going deeper will test you and cost you.
My neighbors will be marching this evening…it just so happens my husband and I cannot make it. But even better, we can forge ahead with all night prayer. I believe prayer deserves appointment and schedule, as though one were meeting with a president, a prime minister, a King!
I do not sense a call to quit but to go deeper, not only for the speck on earth called Haven Avenue and Inwood, but for my neighbors to see the Lord. May the Lord alone be exalted even as all other hope and options flush away.
It is not shocking to find a corrupt politician or greedy opportunists. But if the Lord puts them before you, He may be drawing you to cry out for their souls, that they come to godly sorrow and repentance.
By the time many of you read this, my all night prayer meeting will be over. While it may end up with only me and the Holy Spirit, I invite anyone online to join in and ask the Lord to intervene.
If your heart is burdened, if heaven seems silent, if the battle seems totally lost – even worsening – commit to go deeper. As always, with the Lord the thing at hand is not always His focus. He can churn a storm to bring out one Jonah.
Let’s see what the Lord will do….