N.B. I have just returned from a trip to Soul survivor with some young people, during which I must have cried more in that one week than I have done all year. This is what got me thinking about this blog, and the thoughts I have had since I share now.
Many times over the last few months I have looked at the life I am living and thought about how blessed I am. I have come to really appreciate the small things in life that allow you to let worries slip away from your mind, appreciate the friendships that allow you to feel like you can face the world, appreciate the relationships that make you thankful for each day, having a job, that pays just enough so that you don’t have to constantly worry about your bank balance, the home that you can feel comfortable and relaxed in, the family around you that although you don’t always get on with, you are grateful that they are around. And the church that you go to without having to think about what you’ve forgotten to do, the friends that encourage you, the members that are grateful for you and appreciate you for who you are AND what you do. I have all of these things and more in my life.
And yet, at Soul Survivor, I found plenty of reasons to cry. But this year, there was a difference in my tears. I have been to SS eight times now, and many times I have cried because of fear, disappointment, worry, hurt, pain and the unknown. But this year, I cried for the pain of others, the disappointment of others, the unknown that others face, the worry and hurt that others experience. I cried when I heard the heart-wrenching stories of young people living in pain.
I cried for the millions across the world who live in slavery and entrapment. I cried for the children dying of hunger and thirst. I cried for the women and children sold into the sex trade. I cried for the thousands of Christians who have been attacked, threatened, imprisoned, forced to flee their country or even killed for their belief in Jesus. I cried for the children who have lost parents. I cried for the parents who have lost children. And I cried in anger at how unfair it was that so few of us (globally) live with plenty, when so many more go without.
Last year at Soul Survivor, I pleaded with God to break my heart for the things that broke his. And this year I realised that He had. Despite how blessed my life is, I am utterly heartbroken. My heart has been torn in two, trodden on, crushed, split and is bleeding for the pain of this world. Just like Jesus’ heart is. And this heart-ache has no cure on earth. Because until the last tear is wiped away from the last hurt and broken child of this world – my heart will remain broken. I can no longer live a single day in ignorance of the pain and the suffering of this world. The problem is no longer someone else’s problem – it is mine. And it is no longer someone else’s job to fix it, it is mine. And there is no longer a future time to do something about it. That time is now.
And that doesn’t mean that I know all the answers or I know what I’m going to be doing about it. All I know is that I am going to be paying attention to the opportunities God gives me to help someone. Anyone. Because there are plenty of opportunities, aren’t there? Some of us chose to ignore them, to walk on by, to ‘do it another day’ or ‘another time’. But not me. Today is the day, and now is the time.
And God provided me with a chance to help someone about ten minutes after I walked through the door from Soul Survivor. I was smelly, sweaty, hungry and needed a nap, but the *knock knock* at my door put an end to all that. The poor don’t stop being poor when we are eating our dinner. The hurt and broken don’t stop being broken because we are tired and need a nap or a shower. So I breathed a deep breath, and I did all that I could in God’s strength, and afterwards I thanked God for being faithful. And for blessing me so much that I was able to bless others.
And so, today, just like yesterday, the work begins. Every new day, a new opportunity to get back up on my feet, and search for the moment. It’s going to be an epic journey. Why don’t you come for the ride too? Ask God to break your heart for the things that break His. Allow him to show you what you can do to change the world. And be prepared for tears. God cries them for this world a lot. And now, so do I.