A few weeks back I attended a funeral for a white man, a husband, father of four, who was brutally murdered by a black man. A white man, one of the grieving, took his 5 minutes intended to honor the departed, and used it to preach the gospel of American politics. He stood up there in front of God and everyone, making sweeping, racial statements, maligning the black community and urging us all in our moment of grief, to look towards a presidential candidate for our hope. My lips pursed with disgust and my mouth went sour as he spoke. A cavern of sadness opened up in me that I haven’t quite been about to sew shut.
I lift my eyes up to the hills. From where does my help come?
Moments after that man used his 5 minutes to sideswipe African Americans with his words, a black man, a street preacher and friend of the deceased, stood up and offered the grace of his own testimony about the departed, telling us how the white man, whose life had admittedly been stolen by a black man, was the kindest person he knew. I sat there with tears bulging behind my lids, mouth agape at the divide one man cut while another came quickly and filled the ugly tear with grace. With gentleness. With love.
My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
I thought I’d put this behind me but sitting here now, I see I have not moved past this. I have not been able to let it go. The additional tragedy’s of recent weeks have only been added to this wound, and what started as a gash has suddenly become something much more toxic, something gross and festering. It’s felt awfully dark in here. I’ve been desperately looking for the light.
Late last night I shared this image I captured on the 4th of July, calling it “looking for the light”. I also called it, “deep breaths”. Indeed, I’ve needed both breath and light.
I asked for people, for you, to leave me a verse or scripture that is keeping you afloat these days, because I can’t be the only one whose drowning in a sea of hard news stories, and one of the most hideous election seasons of my lifetime. Tell me I am not alone in these steady swells of grief and immense disappointment.
I know I’m not alone, because after just 5 minutes scrolling through my Facebook feed, or my email, I see a steady stream of feelings and reactions to the state of the world and there’s a good many of us walking around, with our hearts hanging out, our veins bulging, and our eyes graying with the weight of a sadness we were not meant to carry.
He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
This week I’ve felt like I’ve been walking around beneath the smothering weight of a blanket. It’s been difficult to breathe, hard to see, exhausting to keep going without the circulation of fresh air. “Take it off”, I want to scream, but the blanket isn’t real, and there’s nothing over me but the invisible burden of ache for a world that continues to crack and break with the tremors and aftershocks of perpetual sin.
There’s been so much darkness. So much pain. And don’t we all have our own feelings about it, too.
The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.
Every morning this week I’ve awakened weary. Bone-tired of the pundits, the advocates, the activists, the anchors, the talking heads, the know-it-all opinionated bloggers, and columnists telling me how to vote, how to respond, how to feel and who to get behind. I’m sure they are all right about something, but what I want most in these moments, is the hush of lament.
What I want, more than the bossy self-righteous pandering of politicians is the holy hush that comes from a people who confess that the solution to all of our aching and breaking, can only be solved by one Man. Not a candidate, but a King.
The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life,
Are you feeling this too? Is your heart broken with sadness these days? I asked for light, and you generously poured it out, offering Psalm 37:23-24, Psalm 91:1, Song of Solomon 2:17, 2 Thessalonians 1:7, Joshua 1:9, Psalm 56:4, Isiah 40:11,…These and many others, are the stones on the sure path of hope.
Take off your shoes, let’s walk together on these rocks. These promises will not be crushed by the weight of a seizing world. God’s faithfulness will not be determined by the swaying of 2-faced politicians or the travesty of racial divides. No semi-truck can mow down and annihilate the unfailing, undeserved mercy of God. No political coup or democratic process can dethrone the King for whom earth is His footstool.
The hard, ugly terrifying darkness of this world cannot, and will not ever be able to overcome the Light.
The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.
We may not be able to make sense of things these days. We may not be able to fix the world and all of her brokenness, nor can we heal the wounds in our own hearts. But we can, (we must) pray. We can fight for hope.
We can keep looking for the Light.
If you’re hungry (as I am) for stories of hope and redemption, grab your copy of Soul Bare, the newest release from IVP. I’m humbled and honored to be among the tremendous contributors to this book.