Things are tough. Things are sad. Things are heartbreaking in the world today. As a pastor, I’m asked about these issues. Other times, I’m not but I know I need to acknowledge that they happen. And I don’t alway do the best at it either. I try sometimes. I fail a lot. Some come seeking me to be the voice of God in this situation. In response, I try instead to be the presence of Jesus. I don’t know the mind of God. I don’t know why things in this world that are atrocities happen. Nor will I understand on this side of Glory. I am to be present in the here and now. I am to be the presence of Jesus in the here and now.
My heart breaks for those hurt in the shooting in Orlando. Some say we should raise up our voices condemning gun violence. Others say we should raise up our voices about a safer border. Still others say we need to raise up our voices about injustice. Yet I instead weep and mourn. I, unlike Jesus, don’t know what to do in these situations.
How do I, as a pastor, help bring lament to people who are struggling. We want to bring a fix to the situation. And it seems that so many have a fix to the situation. If we just do this or if we just do that then we won’t have a problem like this again. And I shake my head in hurt because we can’t do a fix without understanding the root of the problem.
We live in a broken, screwed up, messed up world that is in need of fixing. We live in a world where a community is rocked by violence. This isn’t the first time people have been rocked by violence. Where there was peace, violence came. Blame is being assigned, people are hurt and afraid. And in their fear they become angry. And in their anger hatred can be found. And so to counter that, we must begin by addressing the fear and the brokenness in this world.
To be quite honest, I’ve tried to stay off of social media these last few days. So many memes and comments on all sides. Everyone seems to have the answer. And when answers collide, we go back into the fear which leads to anger which leads to hate scenario.
And that must stop.
Many say the answer is love. Love is what we need. But what is love? Our definition of love is so wrapped around so many different personal dictionaries. I lean toward the love of Jesus, an unconditional love that is self-sacrificing for others. It is a love that meets people where they are at and is present with them to become what they are meant to be.
Yet this love cannot be fully realized in the brokenness in this world. It cam be reflected. It can be lived out and shown. Yet the brokenness clouds the love which so needs to be shown.
Stealing from another pastor (which is what pastors often do), there is no program, political party, no government intervention, no silver bullet that can fix any of these problems in this world.
Yet there is one thing that can–the Gospel of Jesus. I’m not here to be preachy. I’m here to speak of peace. A peace that goes beyond understanding. A peace that is not an absent of conflict but a fulfillment of how things are supposed to be.
In this brokenness, there is a promise of how things are supposed to be. My heart breaks in this brokenness. Jesus’ heart breaks in this brokenness, God weeps and has his heart broken in this brokenness. He so loved this world that He sent His one and only son, not to destroy, but to give life, eternal life, a life beyond measure, a life that leads to the wholeness of the peace of how things should be.
My prayer is that where there is pain, peace of God may be found. Where there is hurt, a hunger for the power of Jesus is felt. Where there is struggle, the fellowship of the Holy Spirit is known and shown. And where there is fear, the love of Jesus is experienced.
I ask for God to unbreak my heart. I pray: Come, Lord Jesus, come, and heal this dry and weary land.