Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Where does it hurt?

My son has been complaining of persistent headaches.  The headaches don't affect his ability to eat, do homework, play, laugh, watch TV.  I thought when he got glasses, the headaches would fade, but they haven't.   The headaches don't respond to tylenol, ibuprofen or children's zytrec.  I wonder if the headaches are psychosomatic - he has gone through some big life changes this year and likely doesn't have the language to express all his emotions.  I wonder if the headaches are a brain tumor - it's THAT week in November, so I'm more prone to suspect the worst.  Mostly, I hurt because he is hurting, angry at the ache that he feels constantly.  I want to fix it, and it seems unfixable.

In the midst of all the anger and confusion in the world, this small poem came across my newsfeed: 

I am shaken by these simple words, the image of a hand hovering over the world and the world trembling with pain.  A world, like my son, that constantly hurts.  

We hurt here, in America.  We send our young to war and then mistreat them when they are home.  Judges sell our children into prisons.  We fight tooth and nail against justice.  Our states dry up, our forests burn, we gnash our teeth at the state of politics.  
It hurts, it hurts, it hurts.

But this simple poem keeps me from believing that our pain is the only pain.  It dares me to look out into the world and see the wounds out there as well: war and rumours of war, natural disasters, broken families, terror, loss, the hurt a pulsing ache in every city of the world. 
The world hurts, it hurts, it hurts.

I am convicted by this pain, because of the most popular Bible verse in the world: "For God So Loved the world...."  The world is hurting, the world that God loves.  People are hurting, the people that God loves.  Most look nothing like me.  Many are of different faiths.  Most speak a different language.  Many expect the worst of me because my country has a terrible history of demonizing the other.  But the world is hurting and God loves it fiercely, and haven't I claimed to be loyal to God's kingdom?  This whole bleeding earth and all that is in it belongs to God, an earth I must be a better steward of.

Many of us are spending these days yelling; we are afraid, we are angry, we are confused, we are hopeless, we are desperate, we are ashamed, we are haunted by guilt.  But what would it look like, if instead of yelling at one another, if we turned to our world and whispered: "where does it hurt?"

To Syrian refugees, fleeing from the destruction of everything they knew, "Where does it hurt?"
To Parisian victims, reeling from terror, "Where does it hurt?"
To the Lebanese bombing survivors, mourning their loss, "Where does it hurt?"
To the Russian families, left behind after their loved ones were killed, "Where does it hurt?"
To African American students on college campuses, angry in the face of institutional racism, ""Where does it hurt?"

What if we asked "Where does it hurt?", and then dedicated all of our resources to healing?  You know, like Jesus taught us to.

Do you hear the world, my friends?  It's in pain.  And we have much work to do. To repent of our sin that caused the pain.  To set aside our resources to assuage it.  To humble ourselves to see it in the first place.  Join me.  It's time we listened.

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