My name is Philip Calvert and I have recently started as the new Director of Development and Mobilization for the Prairies here in Canada. I come from a background of working in ministry but I am quite ashamed of the fact that I have never really taken a long and hard look at the idea of Biblical Justice. It has always been one of those things that’s like… "yeah, God is a God of justice" and then I move on.
Once I started digging into what International Justice Mission (IJM) is all about a few months back, I was absolutely taken over by two things: One, there is a massive need to hold back people from exploiting one another, particularly in developing countries where there are so many vulnerable people. Two, God cares so deeply about each individual-- we need be more aware of and concerned about justice to make a better way forward for people that are being exploited. It makes me think of cycling… I know… where did that come from right? Well, hear me out.
I enjoy doing century rides (100 miles) on my road bike. To me there is nothing quite like the open road and the endurance needed to finish as well as the thrill of completing. Sometimes though, you need help to succeed.
This last summer, I was doing a ride like this through the Highwood Pass in K-Country in the Alberta Rockies. This was a double summit ride which required nearly 2000 meters of climbing.
One of the keys to doing well in this kind of ride is having a partner or group of people that work together to take on the additional force of the headwind in turns. If you ever watch pro cycling, it's why the peloton (big group of riders) always moves faster than the break outs (riders that have left the main group behind). While I was 500 meters short of the second summit, I fell behind my group and needed to gut it out on my own. This was the lowest point in my athletic life. Riding alone uphill after already being in the saddle for 7 hours is no fun.
It’s not a perfect analogy, but in a way, justice is somewhat like this. You notice when it is there and working, but you really notice when it isn’t. Those of us who live in Canada enjoy the freedom and relative safety that comes with the knowledge of a system that protects us from violent crime. This is simply not the case for those living outside of a reliable and credible system of protection. They are lonely and struggling to do their race of life, only to be constantly beaten back by the relentless forces of everyday violence.
As a cyclist, the reprieve I get from having someone to break the wind for me gives me hope that I can keep going. For those living outside of the protection of law, there is no reprieve, only that lonely feeling of needed to do it on their own. Getting that extra bit of help can make all of the difference in the world.
Maybe, you are like me and you have a passion that can be used to help raise awareness and funds for IJM’s fight for justice. You can join a ride for refuge event or create your own Just Act initiative. It doesn’t have to be cycling, it just has to be something you're passionate about and can be used to help those who need it.
The fight to end the plague of everyday violence won’t stop unless those of us who have the ability take a turn at the front and "break the wind” to provide that reprieve for those who need it.