I don’t even know where to start. I already feel like my words will fail to adequately present the miraculous hand of God in this story, which is probably why it has taken me so long to write one single word about it. There is so much to tell, and the more I reflect on my journey, the farther back I wish to start. But such deep reflection is for another time….
Nearly a month ago I found myself tucked away, hiding in the corner of the workout area at my gym, and crying uncontrollably. I hid my face in the corner, nose nearly touching the wall, afraid that a random stranger concerned that I had just received terrible news of death, would question my hysterics and then find me insane when I gave explanation.
I had woken up that morning feeling the same as on many others… heartbroken, sad, trapped. I felt the needs and hurts of millions in our world press down on my heart, yet I found myself unable to do a darn thing of significance to help.
Just a few weeks earlier I had even met with our pastor and his wife, asking them for prayer and guidance, for them to somehow help deliver me from this terrible, suffocating “burden” I feel for the “least of these.”
I was done. I was frustrated. I was heartbroken. For weeks I had been begging God to either take away this burden and let me live naively unaware or at least unconsumed with the problems of so many, or give me something to do! He needed to give me a way to help, because the feelings of helplessness were suffocating my soul and becoming unbearable.
On this particular morning I began to wonder what was wrong with me. I even contemplated the idea of medication to help “numb me” to these hurts. I prayed, asking God if I am somehow unstable. I couldn’t understand why the atrocities of this world bear down so heavily on my heart and soul, while others around me are able to simply focus on their “American dream” and the ”pursuit of happiness”.
Was something wrong with me? At that question, I clearly felt the Spirit of the Lord remind me of my many prayers over the last few years, begging Him to break my heart with what breaks His. And He had. And now I couldn’t bear it. The Lord had answered my prayers, opened my eyes and heart, and now I wanted to resort to medication to numb away this awareness of His heart, of their needs? I knew immediately that the idea of medication to numb was wrong. This was a burden I was to carry.
And that is when the hysterics began in my corner at the gym. I was begging God to “help them!” Over and over again, that was all I could pray… “Help them God. Just help them!” One of the simplest prayers of my life. I was sobbing with grief on behalf of every sick, hungry, lonely, abandoned, frightened, hurting, lost, hopeless, ignored, forgotten, outcast person. Begging Him to answer their prayers, and believing that He could.
And that is when it began, when the veil began to lift.
I will leave you with one of my favorite verses of the Bible. God used it to remind me that these burdens I feel are from Him. And they are worthy.
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? 7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood. 8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness[a] will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. 9 Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. “If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, 10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. 11 The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.”