It is bleak and grey.
Where is the light?
While I lay ill on my bed, it is as though the heavens weep at the despair of this world.
How is it that there is now a trend where a terrorist can turn an ordinary everyday vehicle into a weapon of death and destruction? How is it that lives are lost in a split second in our “comfortable” world? How is it that through this grief and shock, we will forget there are millions, beyond millions, of women, children, men… displaced, dying, tortured, crying?
How is it that fear rules and love is trampled under the feet of our easy, rich, distracted, day-to-day lives?
Because whenever you see something horrific… you glance, you give your opinion and then you just keep on scrolling until you find something that can take your mind off the pain and brokenness of others. You avoid empathy.
I read of people fearing the establishment of a local safe house for women who are escaping domestic violence. “What if I am not safe?” they chant. But what about the woman at risk? What about her children? She is the one who is hounded by night and whose children have seen more pain and violence than they should have by their age.
How is it that America still insists on having guns to protect them, when it only increases the chances of their children killing their own mother or sibling? How is it we still choose fear over love? How is it that we are present, stand by, and watch as Syria struggles (and by struggle, I mean drowns, starves, grasps for dear life or gives up entirely) through the largest humanitarian crisis of our time?
How is it that there are still ordinary, lovely, respectable people who think we do not, in fact, have any “boundless plains to share” in Australia, as our National Anthem so blatantly states? How can we continue to insist that we teach school children to sing our country’s anthem with pride when in so many ways it seems like a lie? How can people say with such flippancy that those refugees just need to go back where they came from? Back to what? Would you take your family back to death, destruction, pain… to predators that might steal your children in the night or murder your husband in front of you? Back… to what?
I have taught a 5-year-old refugee. He used to draw pictures of tanks and people dying. His family had to flee their country because his primary school teacher found out that he was a Christian.
The person whose responsibility it was to nurture the mind, heart and soul of the child, was the very one who reported them. I gently reminded him that he didn’t need to worry about the tanks anymore because he was safe in Australia now and that Jesus had saved him. He smiled at me with wisdom beyond his years and started a new page, drawing pictures of the cross surrounded by hearts.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.”
Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence.
He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
- Psalm 91:2-4 (New King James Version)
HE is my refuge.
He is MY REFUGE.
We all need a place to escape the fear, but not deny the truth. His truth shall be your shield.
Our world is hurting, broken, grieving, dying. We need refuge from living in denial while viewing the world through the lens of our smartphones. We need refuge from self-image, self-obsession, self-harm. In fact, we need refuge from SELF.
Fear is selfish. Love is selfless.
You cannot have both love and fear. They will pull at each other because they have different agendas at heart.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear.
- 1 John 4:18 (New King James Version)
Perfect love casts out fear…. our love is not perfect. Nor will it ever be, because our fears will always sabotage our lives. We need to lean on Jesus. He IS Perfect Love. He took our fears, guilt, shame and sin upon his shoulders for you… for me. No matter what we have done. He was separated from the love of the Father, in the depths of darkness, to ensure we would find our way back to our Heavenly Father through Him.
We have no right to ignore, deny, sympathise, look away. We are called to help the hurt and the lost. We are called to be light.
Where is that light?
We are meant to be a city on a hill. Us Jesus-types. Those disciples. Those followers. WE are meant to go out and shine. Where are we?
Are we caught up in the menial tasks of our 9-5 occupations?
Are we living in a false reality, scrolling social media by day and playing video games by night?
Are we so consumed with our calendar and what to buy our children for their birthdays that we forget our children need to learn how to be grateful citizens of the planet who can reach out, sacrifice and make a change?
We are called to be the light. We are called to be that safe house. We are called to offer assistance, to advocate for change, to evoke empathy. We are called to offer REFUGE. Because God is OUR refuge.
Please don’t scroll past. Please don’t ponder the worth of these words and then get caught up in your life again.
Mark this day as the day you will make a difference. Mark it with an act of love. Because every bit of light is better than no light.
Read your Bible.
Love your neighbour.
Push back your fear and hold onto the love of Christ.
As I sit here in my comfortable bed, feeling bleak and broken, I am going to try. Because my offering of my broken vessel is good enough. There are the cracks from the times I have hurt others, times I have lied or gossiped. There are dark patches from the guilt and shame I have carried from poor choices in my life. There are hardened, warped parts where I have not forgiven and have chosen to be bitter. Then there are fragile, weak parts from the times where I should have given grace but judged others instead. This vessel is an expression of my life’s journey. What I have learned through the most painful parts of my life is what will stay with me. Because of my faults, because of my doubts, my mistakes, my weaknesses, the love of Christ can flow more freely through me.
It trickles or showers or drips or pours… as long as I lift it up to heaven to be used in service to Him.
A vessel can do nothing if it lies empty on the shelf. A broken one even more so, for it has no perfection about it to make it pleasing to the eye. Yet being a vessel isn’t about how beautiful you are on the outside… it’s about the beauty that comes from within when it is used. It’s about what it holds.
I beg you to consider… will you make a decision today to offer up your brokenness to be used by the King of all Kings?
Because every bit of light… is better than no light at all.