This morning the church service was held outside. What a beautiful way to worship God. As a side effect, I now have a sunburn.
“So what’s on your mind?” she asks. You again, huh? Hmmm. Where do I begin and what do I say?
Projects, tests and papers bear down on me, and finals loom on the horizon. The sun has finally come out, and the warm weather is beckoning me away from my work. 15 people died in the Columbine massacre, and people struggle to understand. Bombs fall in Yugoslavia as the ethnic cleansing continues in Kosovo. Conflict guts my church at home, my mother breaks down crying as she tells me, and I’m 700 miles away and can’t do a thing. And my heart finds a new love that the old won’t understand. “Why, O Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” the Psalmist cries out (10:1), and I understand the pain he feels. But I also know that “You are my Lord, apart from you I have no good thing,” (Psalm 16:2).
The pain she feels is tremendous. I can only imagine. “No, you can’t.” she retorts. Well, maybe I can’t. But I think I can. Do you think I planned this? Do you think I meant it to be this way? It’s times like these that I can only cling to God. I didn’t write the script. No man could write a plot so complex. I’m just stumbling along, trying to read my lines and adlib the ones I forget. Somehow He gives me the cues I need. I know it hurts. Your tears pierce my soul. You don’t want to believe that, because that would mean I have compassion, and you can’t hate me if I have that. But enough of that. It gets us nowhere. I don’t want to see you hurt, but this is the way it’s working out. There’s a plan behind it, and it makes no sense now, but someday it will. I’m following the way I know. I showed care and concern for you, and still do. And now I must move forward. I’m sorry. Don’t bury your rage in a ball. Don’t hate yourself. This is more than that. This is beyond all that. Can’t you see?
And so I step forward, knowing the past is shaky, but confident in the present. I hold your hand, and I know that only God could have put it there. So we walk forward, and move on to the next scene, “Line please.”