Last night, I didn’t sleep very much. Typically, when this happens, my brain gets stuck on one idea or thought and loops around it over and over again. Last night was different, however. Last night, my mind wandered from topic to topic, almost as frequently as I tossed and turned to get comfortable. Finally, I couldn’t deny it any long that I was awake and flat on my back, I snapped opened my eyes with words of my mind exasperating “What is the deal?! God, why?! You had ears to hear the cries of the Israelites – can you not hear the cries of this generation? What are we supposed to do with all this darkness?! Are you among us or not?” I sat up. Heather rolled over. The dog lifted his head to look at me. Another car whizzed by on the street. The fan oscillated in the other direction. And, I laid back down – eventually falling back asleep.
Is God among us or not? The Israelites asked this question as they wandered in the wilderness just as we ask it today. And, just as God was among the Israelites, God is among us. It’s just that God does not react as we do.
Church, the world feels heavy right now. We are convicted by racism and white supremacy in this country. We are scrambling to protect healthcare and basic rights for all – including our transgender family. We are touched by and worried for our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico and in Flint, MI and those fleeing from war-torn places in our world. For too many reasons – both global and personal – the world feels heavy right now.
But, let us consider some perspective. Each generation has experienced the weight of darkness in their midst – the Israelites, the disciples of Christ, and we do today. It is important that we face the reality that there is brokenness among us that and the pieces weigh heavy upon our shoulders. But the good news is that God is, indeed, with us – just as God was with the Israelites and with the disciples. Time and time again, across the generations, God faithfully tends to God’s children as God ushers in peace and justice for all of God’s children.
As Christians, we must look to Jesus who not only commands us to love God and love our neighbor but also tells us, “Come to me all who are weary and carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” In such a time as this – when the world feels heavy, when our minds whir with worry – we must seek to live into Christ’s love and mercy, practice it among each other, AND, we are to take refuge in the steadfast love God has for the world. We must take care of ourselves, and each other, so that together we might be strengthened to go back out into the world, co-creating with God a more peaceful and fair world.
The weight of the world is great. The problems are real. But rest assured– God is among us. May we be vigilant for the lights of hope and promise in our midst.