About eight or nine years ago we went through a very strange season of everything breaking down. When I say everything, I mean it was so excessive we began to keep track of all the things breaking and needing to be repaired- cars, our oven, plumbing, doors, cars again, plumbing again, our trampoline, on and on. It was a list of over 30 items spanning the course of six months. In the beginning it was frustrating, annoying, expensive. Then it became funny (almost) and still expensive. Then it turned maddening. Why was God letting all this happen? One time, we came home from a week long mission trip to inner city Atlanta and our plumbing had thrown up in the bathtub. Cleaning that up, after spending a week in the summer heat made for a lot of grumbling on my part. At some point, I just gave up and accepted it. Shortly after, one morning and I felt God show something to me, in my spirit.
“You know how things keep breaking and just when you get them fixed something else breaks? You know how you are frustrated and mad and think it’s not fair? That’s what loving people is like. It’s messy and they don’t always stay fixed and you get mad and want to quit. Get ready. Loving people is hard because they are broken.”
I have never before or since experienced a season like that. It was the best picture of what I was about to step into as God was in the process of rearranging my security driven suburban heart and calling me into unfamiliar places.I’ve been counseling seven and a half years now. It’s every bit as hard on some days as God was prepping me for. I do
get mad at the brokenness. Not so much at the people, but at the darkness around them. The harm they have lived through. The harm they create with their sinful choices. The evil plot Satan is always twisting against God’s creation. The way creation itself just breaks down. Broken.
I long for the day when all is made new. When restoration is final and nothing breaks again. But, in the meantime, I know one thing: Jesus did not come down here and march into the depths of hell and conquer sin and death and rise victorious for me to stick my head in the sand! There is a battle. You and I are in it whether we like it or not. It’s messy and you can’t predict the outcome of each skirmish. Sometimes people stay broken. Sometimes they get better only to break down again. And sometimes there is glorious, shocking victory.
Those moments will take your breath away.
You don’t have to be a counselor to get in the battle. There are hurting people all around you, and they need you to love them, fight for them, believe they can be victorious through Christ.
Tonight I’m in prayer over our city and our country. I am praying for those trapped in darkness. But I’m also praying for those who live in light places, to be willing to enter into the pain of others, to be willing to be inconvenienced and to refuse to live in blissful ignorance.