In light of recent occurring tragedies, adequate words can feel hard to come by. What is the appropriate response to the events that have recently occurred? And yet, I feel reminded and encouraged to be engaged--to let my heart be affected by all that has occurred in the States and abroad, because as a follower of Jesus, I believe that's what I've been called to do. God has said:
"Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn." (Romans 12:15)
And where I may not have eloquent words or intricate discourses, I do know that the simple and only answer to all these situations, let alone every situation that has happened or will ever happen, is Jesus. Maybe it feels too simple, but it's truth. He is hope! He is peace. He is healing. Perhaps it's the complexity and the massiveness of the events that makes the answer of Christ feel simple. But that's the profundity of it--that the simple act of trusting in Christ releases a wave of resurrection power in our lives so beyond ourselves it can only point back to His Lordship and authority. I feel encouraged by the Father to step into the conversation and be a voice, even though words seem hard, because I know words matter. And I know that personally, I have been encouraged by the voices of friends who have stepped out to speak the things they felt God stirring in their hearts.
I find the conversation of hope an important one to engage in, because for many, the idea of the world getting any better seems difficult to believe. And when we focus on the circumstances, yes, it can be difficult to believe. Where does one turn? We can't just "wish" things to get better. Positive thinking won't do it. Fear will not cure fear. Retribution will not heal anger. Injustice will not promote identity. Disengagement will not create safety. We need something beyond ourselves. As we've seen, our own human constructs that we believe are answers aren't really answers at all--they seem to only fuel the chaos. Because in and of itself, humanity is broken. Our human ideas are broken. What we think is a "good idea" might not actually be good at all. We've seen it clearly. We've seen it over the course of these weeks. Where does one turn? That security, that thing outside of ourselves that we need, that hope that we are looking for is found in one place, and that is Jesus. For God is the only One who can take a human heart and make it whole. He is the only One who is able to "[heal] the brokenhearted and [bind] up their wounds" (Psalm 147:3). Because all the issues that have ever existed in our world and currently exist are really heart issues, for out of the heart flows our words and our actions. (Proverbs 4:23, Luke 6:45) Daily, I need Christ to make my heart more and more whole. And God is very real, very active, and very involved in our lives. We just have to let Him be, to give Him permission, as He has given us free will and the ability to choose.
I feel that our world has a love deficit. A true-love deficit. Society has attempted to define what love is, but we don't really know. We need someone to help us define what it really is and what it's supposed to look like. A whole, healing, selfless love. A love that changes and transforms. For love is the opposite of anger, of fear, of injustice. I believe we are all craving love. Belonging. Understanding. We're created for it. And the answer as to what love is is found in Scripture, defined as this: "God is love" (1 John 4:8). Love is wrapped up in the person of Jesus, and when we truly encounter Him, we truly know love--not the Jesus we think we know, but the Jesus of the Bible. He is all we've ever been searching for. Jesus came to reveal the heart of the Father, and in Him, we see and know the nature and character of God, because Jesus Himself is God.
"Jesus answered: "Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'?" (John 14:9)
Jesus wasn't disengaged with the hurts of people. He wasn't aloof to society. He was engaged. He healed the sick, raised the dead, ministered to the hurts of those around Him. He offered hope to those who would reach out, trust His heart, and believe Him. He is now. I know without a doubt that Jesus is ready and willing to move amidst our circumstances, both personal and corporate. For "God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him." (John 3:16) God loves the world. The Father's heart is filled with passion and desire. He wants to redeem and restore. He's longing for our invitation. We must recognize our need; be dependent upon Jesus. We must say yes to Him. I personally know this yes is worth it, because my life has been changed and continues to be transformed by His love. This is my testimony. And I'm choosing to say yes everyday, because all of life will present the choice of a continual yes to Him. Because I've encountered the power of Jesus, I have hope for every situation and circumstance. I have encountered His heart. In this world, it may seem like things are getting worse, but the reality is, Jesus is also here to make things so much better.
Things feel big. But change could start with us. Any great movement that has ever happened started with one person, or a few, choosing to live differently. What if we let ourselves be transformed by God's love so that we could live out love--loving with a real, authentic love fueled by Christ? His love is perfect. It seems crazy, but He has chosen to live His life through us, asking us to be His hands and feet. He has called us to pray, and His eyes go looking for those who will be faithful to stand in the gap and intercede, to carry His heart, and allow themselves to feel what He feels and agree with what heaven is saying. If love is the answer, then let us live love. Let us live out His love. Let us pray for the revelation of it. Because only His love has the power to save, heal, and transform.
Words can feel hard in these moments. But, I've felt encouraged to allow myself to be affected and to engage... feel... process... even if at times it feels risky or scary. To offer up a voice, not trying to claim I know everything, but share the Hope I do know is real and constant that I myself have come to know and believe. My life has been transformed because of it. And where I lack, I know there is great comfort in knowing that Jesus knows and sees all. He is constantly interceding at the right hand of God. So may we all encounter the love, power, and redemption that is in Christ, knowing He is a good God with good plans. May we engage with God's heart and simultaneously be filled with His hope. God is able. God is love. You are loved.
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." (Romans 15:13)