May 24, 2017
I can't imagine the depth of grief that has befallen these families. Mothers, fathers, siblings, countless relatives and friends, coming to the grim realization that one of their own is not coming home.
I know I'm only one voice among a multitude who will be writing their own special introspection upon such an horrendous event. Given the sheer magnitude of this evil act, its no surprise that the outrage of the world would find some expression in its collective writings.
I, too, stand with the many politicians, statesmen, and citizens who speak out defiantly against these atrocities. No matter what, we cannot allow the twisted and distorted ideologies of any group wanting to harm others to win. The mantle of coward will always be the mark of a terrorist's true nature.
As a pastor, my world is often lived in the constant reflection of the world's brokenness. Mostly, though, it's seen in more pedestrian ways-broken relationships, personal weaknesses, addictions, financial struggles, or matters of health. There is a different type of heartbreak for these, more common expressions of our fallenness.
As with anything that tends to rend your heart, you long to see some correction, some proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. It seems that whenever one victory is being celebrated, another battle is just beginning to peer over the horizon. That's simply the nature of humanity and the locus of any viable ministry.
But something more is echoed when these acts of brutality is visited upon the innocent. A compulsive wrenching of the heart that reminds us that we live not only in a broken world, but an evil one. One, where a young man, with his entire future ahead of him, would forfeit his young life for what?
I have often wondered what shock awaits such an individual when they awake on the other side? What happens as they face God and give an account of their evil? How truly horrific it must be in that moment to come to the full recognition of their wrong and know they can never undo it.
The troubling part, too, is the helplessness that comes with the heartache. We wish we could do more, help more, give more, fix more, or do whatever is necessary to make sure no one has to experience this kind of evil again.
Here, truly, is where my heart aches most. Its one of the primary reasons I went into ministry, to help as an agent of light, against the ever pervasive onslaught of darkness. I love what Jesus says in John 16:33.
I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.
Jesus makes quite a claim here. A claim that stakes all of life's tragedies against the peace he offers. Unlike other ideologies, theologies, or philosophies, only Jesus gives full recognition of the evil that exists in the world and then gave his life to redeem it.
So, what breaks your heart? Whatever it is let me ask you a second question. What are you doing about it? My hope for you is whatever has your heart breaking will become a source of motivation to be the hands and feet of Jesus to someone today.
There is enough pain to go around without the machinations of those who seek to harm and maim. My heart is breaking for the families affected by the tragedy in Manchester. My thoughts and prayers are with them, even though I struggle to formulate words to match the degree of grief I feel for them.
What is breaking your heart today?
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