Jul 29, 2009

Heavy Heart Lifted Up

Do you ever feel like you have so much wadded up inside that you just can't sort it out to even begin to explain it?

That's how I feel right now. I feel this "thing" inside that needs to get out; this desire to release all that is in me, but it's so jumbled up I can't sort it enough to make sense to anyone else. So I'm going to attempt to write it out so I can get it straight inside, too.

This is what happens when one turns her creative outlet off for too long.

I am overwhelmed when I read the news or (heaven forbid) watch the news on TV. The things people will do to each other...children to their parents, parents to their children, husbands to their wives, strangers to neighbors...it's enough to make me sick. It seems like every time I read the headlines, it's about someone's murder, rape, or child abuse. And it seems to keep getting worse.

Then as I mentally look around at just the people I know, most of whom are believers, there is so much hurt...everywhere. Marriages that are hanging on by a thread or, worse, are already laying in the rubble; rebellious teens making poor life-altering decisions; lonely people, good people, but aching for companionship and adventure and looking in all the wrong places; recurring addiction battles of all kinds; single parents exhausting every resource just to make ends meet and still find time to spend with their kids; a family turned homeless overnight because of a house fire.

I could truly go on.

These are the things that the world looks at and says, "How can God be loving and merciful and kind and still allow these things to happen?"

If I were to stop this post here, I'm afraid that's where I would be left myself.

That question is a very natural question, coming from a natural mind. In other words, it's a question that comes from a carnal mind. Earthly. Human. Because when we evaluate the perspective of that question, its source is from man only. It's as though our mind is saying, "How can God let this happen to US, to ME?" It's a human-centered question.

Perhaps the question could be better answered by understanding that the responsibility of the heartache we see is not resting on God at all. When we angle our minds a little differently and set the focus correctly, now we can see more clearly. The source of the heartaches is our own nature. If our flesh is riddled with sin (and it all is, without exception) then what we see is simply a byproduct of the sinful nature. Could we possibly expect Utopia, or anything like it, to come from a world full of sinful creatures? Impossible!

And what about the things that happen that are not self- or man-inflicted? What about the family who has endured a house fire and now literally has nothing but the clothes on their back? What about the husband suffering from deep depression because of the loss of his wife?

In Genesis 3 we see God tell Adam that because of his sin, the earth is also cursed. This included all of creation on earth, and therefore includes things that we cannot necessarily control. Things like the effects of time and disease that ravage our bodies, and fire that consumes our homes.

It's no wonder that Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." (John 14:27)

He doesn't give as the world gives because the peace that the world offers is always temporary and subject to circumstance. His peace comes to His own regardless of circumstances. So He encourages us to not be disturbed and afraid when we see the whirlwind, the waves, and the deep dark waters that threaten to swallow us whole.

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)

For those who don't belong to Him, it's impossible to find comfort in these words. There are also bigger issues to be concerned about in that case; issues of eternal significance. But for those who are His, we have to come back to the truth of His word, His promises. He has left us His peace, and it surpasses all human understanding. He has overcome the world, we just haven't seen the ramifications of it yet because sin is still present in the world.

One Day, all that's going to change. Oh, I can't wait.

If you read my blog and have shared with me in your burden, please don't read this and think I'm overloaded with all there is to bear. Christ bears all, and I walk freely beneath Him. I count it an honor and privilege to share in lifting up others in prayer and petition for these very heavy loads. I cannot pretend to carry them any more than you can.

I'm just noticing a great rise in troubles and fears, both in the world and in the body of Christ. Sign of the times? Maybe. Part of life in a sin-ridden world? Definitely. Reason to panic? Not hardly.