I don’t know about you, but I have spent the past few days feeling incredibly sad and angry at the violence this world has experienced lately. Every time I thought that I was okay, another wave of sadness would slam into me, leaving me unsteady and desperately trying to grab onto hope. I have read countless story after story of what people are going through – eyewitness accounts from the club in Orlando and from a meet and greet where a young artist was gunned down as well as numerous stories of the sheer terror that people are experiencing all around the world right now.
And I’m tired. And a little afraid. And I feel useless.
It’s hard to know that there are so many suffering people in the world that I can’t do anything for. To know that every single moment of every single day someone, somewhere is in pain. The entire world is hurting, and I can’t help them.
It’s so easy to become overwhelmed with what we can’t do when it comes to social justice issues. They are too vast and wide and it’s absolutely impossible for any one of us to affect every single area that needs change. So sometimes we just look away and feel afraid and decide that our tiny lives can’t make a difference anyway.
And that’s exactly how the enemy wants us to feel. Because fear will shut you down quicker than any other emotion. Fear is all-consuming and will cause you to clench your fists and live a closed-off life. It makes us turn blind eyes to the suffering and the needs of real people because it’s easier to pretend those things don’t exist than it is to face the reality of the world we live in today with courage and a resolve to spend our lives trying to make other people’s better.
Fear destroys. It silences. It renders us ineffective and immobile.
Oh but Perfect Love casts out fear. And that love is Jesus Christ, and He will always have the last word.
So what do you do when the entire world is hurting? You look to Christ. You cling to His promise and His hope. You let your heart completely break for the things that break His, knowing that this is how we were created to live our lives as believers. Broken for the state of the world and acting as ministers of reconciliation, spending our days building bridges for others to get to Christ. We let ourselves feel and grieve and mourn and then we use those God-given emotions as catalysts that cause us to act and move and see justice, peace, healing, and freedom brought to this world.
Instead of being overwhelmed with what you can’t do, start focusing on what you can do and what you were made to do. It’s easy to look at terror in the world on a grand scale and then brush it away because there’s nothing you can do about it. But the truth is that there are people in your everyday life who are struggling and hurting. People who need you to show up and love them well. People who need you to grab their hands and sit with them in their pain. People who need you to make them a meal. People who need you to listen to their stories and validate their feelings and then make the boundless love of Christ known to them.
At work, in grocery stores, at church, next door – the pain is endless. We can’t be the ones who shrink away in fear. We must be the ones who rise together in love. We must be the bridge-builders. We must be the ones who know how to hit our knees and cry out for justice and mercy and then get up and do something. We must be the ones who are less worried about defending God than we are about representing Him.
There’s pain everywhere we go, friends. So we must be the ones who create space for love to break through the darkness.
And even when it’s hard or we don’t understand or we are scared, we must be the ones who shine on.