For the first time since I can remember, I feel a deep sense of loss at what's happened lately. It all started with the movie theatres in Aurora, CO last summer. That was the first time I remember truly feeling HURT learning that a man walked in to this movie theatre, used the violence of the current movie playing as a masking device for the violence he unleashed on the unsuspecting crowd that evening.
This only got worse with news about the group of children at Sandy Hook elementary school in Conneticut who'd been shot and killed on a Friday morning in December. Also last week, with the tragedies at the Boston Marathon and in the fertilizer plant in West, TX.
I remember where I was and what I was doing when I first heard of the attacks on September 11. I'm not sure if it was my immaturity or altogether my selfishness, but I don't recall feeling THIS pain in those circumstances.
As I've been reading through Psalms in my time with the Lord, there have been several themes that the Lord has allerted me to:
-God's desire to hear our cries of joy and heartbreak. His desire to proclaim Himself of God over all things, including trials, storms, and death.
-The ongoing presence of enemies/persecutors in light of times when God will liberate or "lift up the head" of the Psalmist.
-The Psalmist's desire to learn of God's ways in the midst of conflict, alluding to the assumpltion that in conflict, the Psalmist senses the flaw lies in himself and not in God.
And the most troubling thing about this is that though the Lord presents me with these themes in Psalms, I still struggle to land on a sense of "complete understanding," or having arrived at a "final answer" to the problem of hurt. And it is then that God provides yet another gracious gift.
In spending time with other guys on staff for conversation and community, one of the consistent things I hear is, "I don't have it figured out yet." This is something I hear from Chris Seidman (our fearless leader), Tim Ketchersid (hardest working man I know), Bro. Eddy (an Oak tree of the faith), Kevin Williams (has two, TWO!, master's degrees), Ryan Rainey (youth ministry veteran), etc. etc. Their lack of "final answers" leads me to a beautiful reminder: that on my BEST day of most perfectly piecing together my perspective of God and His Holiness, it's still falls SHAMEFULLY short of what it really is.
In reality, clinging to the idea that God is bigger than the best thing I can muster up about him, that He surpasses any capability of my understanding, and all He asks me to do is to REMEMBER what He's ALREADY DONE actually creates peace. It still hurts when I hear about these tragedies, and I guarantee you that the next one will still rock me. But to know that God is greater than what we can say about Him on our best days is what helps me get through my worst days.