Dear fellow Believer,
I’ve been a little out of it this week. Our girls have been passing croup back and forth and so sleep has been little and tears have been many (although I won’t say from whom). I’ve been completely unaware of what’s going on in the world or in this weeks’ news cycles, so when I was quickly scrolling through insta last night and I saw the first peace sign with the Eiffel tower in it, I was intrigued but it didn’t quite click. As I kept scrolling and kept seeing the same photo on repeat, my stomach sank and I knew some thing was wrong, very wrong. A quick google search later and my chest tightened and my heart broke.
Terror had stuck again.
Here’s the thing, in those first few moments devouring news pieces trying to figure out what the storyline was and why, I was convinced humanity was getting worse. My soul was begging the Lord to return quickly to save us all from ourselves. Fear overcame me and I had determined that I was going to find a huge plot of land, learn to be self-sustaining, and go off the grid. Dramatic, I know, but I’ve never been one to tame my flare for dramatics in the middle of a crisis. But I am ashamed to admit that seclusion was my first instinct.
As I thought more about the attacks, more about ISIS and evil and fear and heartache, I thought about all the heartache around me. I remembered how Jesus didn’t call me to run from it, but to run straight through the furnace of grief with Him by my side. And I thought about all of the people who are walking into this holiday season with an empty seat at the table. All of women who are grieving the loss of baby whether through miscarriage or cancer or tragic car accidents. I thought about the marriages that are currently barely breathing, only a moment away from the end. For the people I see on the side of the road holding signs pleading for help. The homeless shelters that are packed to the brim this time of year. The familial relationships that are strained (to put it best). The refugees fighting for dear life to find a home. And I think about the children in the foster care system who need stability and love and a place to learn how to thrive. And I thought about ISIS and Paris and racism and cancer and violent shootings.
And I was reminded that it’s easy to only grieve darkness during the BIG HUGE displays of brokenness like terrorism. But the reality is, Satan is like a lion seeking whom he can devour. And sometimes it’s through huge horrific acts of terrorism, and other times it’s through everyday hearthache. Christian brothers and sisters, it is so easy to stay cocooned in our homes pretending that heartache isn’t right outside our door. I get it; I too want to hug my children and find somewhere safe and easy to live out our lives. Hurt and grief and terror are everywhere and they come in many forms.
But we can’t. We cannot stay silent. We have to be the hands and feet of Jesus, and not just today when we’re feeling all the big feelings after a HUGE crisis. But we have to be there today and everyday, when it’s popular and trending, and when it’s not. I say all this not to minimize the horrific acts that took place in Paris yesterday. No, the loss of life, the fear, the grief, it’s overwhelming to me. And there are plenty of ways we can take action, together united in our humanity, standing with the people of France. Here is an article listing ways to do so. But I’d also like to offer up another way to help.
What if today and every day we loved like Jesus did? What if we looked for those on the fringe? What if we were kind to the person in the supermarket who was rude to us? What if we showed up at hurting people’s doorsteps? What if we were better friends, siblings, parents, and spouses, not because we simply want to be good, but because we are driven to LOVE and FORGIVE bigger and better because we’ve experienced such a big love? What if we didn’t judge each other by the color of our skin, or our fashion differences, or what neighborhood we lived in? What if we said that WE WILL NOT FEAR, because we know the one who wrote the story and rights all wrongs? What if we weren’t overcome by evil, but we overcame evil with good? And not just when BIG acts of terrorism on our country and others happened, but every day in between? What if GRACE and FORGIVENESS and GENEROSITY and HOPE were our mantra instead of being known for divisive arguments and boycotts? What if we stood for justice and championed the cause of the orphan, the widow, the wounded?
Call me a dreamer, but I believe that we, the people of God, have a gift to offer this broken world and I believe we can do this because if God is for us, who can be against us? I believe it with every fiber in my being that we are God’s plan A for restoration in this broken world. I believe giving HOPE to a broken world starts with Jesus, therefore it starts with us.
Reader, wherever you are, I’m begging you to forgive BIG today. Give grace like it was going out of style. Be generous with your resources. Stand up to bullies. Open your homes to the hurting, and share the hope we have in Jesus whenever you can because our hope, our only hope, is in Him.
People of Paris, I weep with you. I stand with you. And yes I’ll gladly donate and assist you in whatever ways I can. But to my Christian brothers and sisters here, oceans away, let us join a movement of change. A movement that was started at the beginning of time. Let us sing this song of hope that has been proclaimed for ages, but that has lately become more of a whisper in our busy, self-absorbed society. Let us be people who stand for justice and give of ourselves freely and generously. But mostly, let us look to the ultimate Redeemer and let that change and motivate us.
Pray with me friends? Pray and ask God to use you in your communities to help soften hardened hearts? To love the unlovable? To be a catalyst for His great hope to spread? I’m praying for you and for us and for our brothers and sisters all across the globe right now.
Jesus, King Jesus, hears our cries and He weeps with us, and He has not abandoned us.