It’s hard to bear

happyclappy

Have you ever had days when you feel the weight of stories? Where you hear too many awful things people do to each other and wonder where is God and why doesn’t He just fix this mess of a world? My month’s been that way. Sometimes I want to pull my hair out. Other times, cry. And the heaviness of very real stories bends my shoulders.

It should not be–these stories of abuse.

People should not worship money and discard people.

They should not satisfy their sexual urges with the vulnerable, helpless and unsuspecting.

They should not defraud the weak because they see the weak as a source of easy income.

They should not leave families.

Hearing the stories, whether they be face to face or on the news or through an email, nearly breaks me. I feel responsible, somehow, to fix, to make right, to bring justice. And all the while my shoulders simultaneously sag and tense. Sag from the enormity of the abuse. Tense from my inability to right the wrongs.

I talked to my husband about it all last night, and tears came. “This is wrong,” I said. “Maybe God put me here to stand up for people who can’t find their voices. Maybe I’m supposed to be one of the ones who says, ‘No more!'” Maybe.

Or maybe I’ll just cocoon myself away, rocking under the weight of stories, immobilized by sadness.

I can’t do this.

Not in myself. Not by my supposed strength. I’m weak. I’m needy. I’m helpless to fix the mess, the pain, the anguish.

In times like these, I either run to Jesus or I run away. This blog post is my attempt to run toward Jesus. With honesty. With frailty. With so little to offer except my willingness.

I think of Jesus on that cross, how He bore the weight of all the sad stories. He is the sin bearer and the pain bearer, shouldering the sins committed against and the damage the sins created. He took the evil, the mocking, the jeering, the abuse–for me. For you.

It may not seem like life is fair.

It may not seem like justice will ever prevail.

For the sexually abused who share their stories and are dismissed or not believed or ridiculed or silenced or told to “get over it.”

For the spouse in an abusive marriage, not knowing where to turn, lacking volition because of years of psychological and physical torment.

For the child wanting to be wanted, yet abandoned.

For the trafficked victim, enslaved and without hope or a voice.

For the one who’s been stolen from, defrauded, perpetrated against.

There aren’t simple happy-clappy answers to these issues. You can’t put a Christian cliche band-aid on them and hope people will just become suddenly resilient. What has been stolen takes years to find renewal, redemption. Undoing all the taking takes time.

Which is where we come in.

By the strength of Jesus, we choose to light up that which has been lurking in the dark. We decide to no longer let these atrocities happen on our watch. We choose to shoulder the pain of the one who cries that she can’t “get over it.” We listen. We pray. We advocate. We stand in the gap between pat answers and genuine help. Not as vigilantes, but as fellow sufferers.

And when we get overwhelmed and tired, and the stories weigh heavily, we gently hand them to Jesus for safekeeping, remembering that He is the One who sees it all, and will someday right the wrongs.

I’m writing this so late at night. The house is silent. Another email slips through to me–another weighty story, and even blame that I seem to be okay while others suffer. I take it in. I feel its heaviness as I type in the dark. I try not to cry.

I’m one small person on a big, big planet, simply wanting to say this: you are not alone. I’m not sure if that’s enough. But it’s what I have right now.

 

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