The day after Thanksgiving my husband answered the phone. As he turned to look at me, his anguish washed over me. He didn’t have time to tell me much of what was happening. He left a room full of laughter and family to weep with those who weep.
We have shouldered the burden of a six month investigation of the allegations from two girls in our church against a deacon. Thankfully, the girls spoke up and were believed before events became completely disastrous. As it is they will still have trauma, as will every church member.
This is not the first time we’ve stood with a survivor. In fact, we do it every Friday night at Celebrate Recovery. Evidently, Jesus laid on us a peculiar calling to the hurting and those crushed in spirit. I wish that I could say that pastors and their wives see the best of what this world offers, but often, we are called after the worst happens: after the affair, the job loss, the death…
What do we do when life gets interrupted?
Know… We know that God is good.
God, Your way is holy. What god is like God? You are the God who works wonders; You revealed Your strength among the peoples. With power you redeemed Your people. Psalm 77:13-15
I will shout it from the roof tops! I have never read one prayer in the Bible for someone to feel something about God! The emphasis is always on knowing God. Feelings are easily manipulated. Our faith is not based on feelings. We base our faith on the truth of who God is and what He has revealed about himself. My church family will meet in grief and brokenness and much sorrow this Sunday. Although our sadness will be evident, it will not shake our knowledge of an All-knowing, All-present, and All-powerful God.
His ways are not our ways. My way would be to wipe all evil from the earth, but God’s plan is to show mercy and patience, not wanting any to perish. He wants all to come to repentance. Unfortunately, this means we must accept this sinful world as it is, and not how we would have it (Serenity Prayer, Reinhold Niebuhr).
Allow ourselves to hurt… Most of us are not emotionally mature enough to handle negative feelings well. We brush hurt, pain, and sadness off as if they will infect us with disease. The writers of Psalms didn’t do this. They were honest with God about their emotions. They cried out for help. Blessed are those who know they are spiritual poor.
I cry aloud to God, aloud to God, and he will hear me. In my day of trouble I sought the Lord. My hands were lifted up all night long; I refused to be comforted. Psalm 77:1-2
If we want to love like Jesus did, we must refuse to be comforted. We must weep with those who weep for as long as they weep. Has this been difficult? Yes. Loving the survivors of this world costs us our comfort, ease, and sense of security. We must see things as they are. We see injustice. We open our eyes to the hurting. Sitting with those who are crushed in spirit is not a “fun time”.
You have kept me from closing my eyes; I am troubled and cannot speak. Psalm 77:4
It means we lend them our strength. We allow them into the peace of our home and give them rest. We bind up their broken parts with truth. It means we stand up and speak out for the vulnerable. And, like Jesus, the world will hate you.
The waters saw You, God. The waters saw You; they trembled. Psalm 77:16
For a time, the interrupted life is dark. The storm clouds will thunder and flash. But, we will not be shaken. We will stand firm in the gospel.
Your way went through the sea, and Your path through the great waters.. Psalm 77:19
No one likes the darkness, but when we can’t see, we are helpless. Life’s interruptions force us to grow in our knowledge of God and rest in His truths. If I have learned anything from the darkness that I have endure, I am witness to this truth…
Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God. 1 Cor. 4:5
You led Your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron. Psalm 77:20
God will lead us by the hand. We are not alone. Never are we alone.