I’m going to be honest with you: sometimes there is not a silver lining.
Sometimes knowing the evils of the world leads us to bitterness and rightly so.
It is overwhelming, the evil that impacts our students and our world. In 2 weeks we have had four students raped. All of them are under the age of 17, 2 of them were hospitalized because of the insane brutality with which the crime occurred, and there is a great chance that the perpetrators will never be charged for their crimes.
It is simply put, overwhelming.
As I sit trying to process through this evil my body quietly shakes. It is hard to handle even the thought of this happening. Whether I know them personally or not doesn’t matter. Crimes like these are so far beyond unacceptable. This violence is not what God ever intended. It is straight evil. The anger wells up into a rage and all I can keep saying is, “This has to stop.”
This has to stop.
This has to stop.
You know, I can measure my time here by the tears I have cried over the hurts of the people God loves. There have been distinct moments when the weeping has been the only thing I had to express everything that words could not. The tears have been a part of the journey. It is a part of having eyes opened to the truth, and man, it hurts. Sometimes I wish I could squeeze my eyes shut and everything would disappear, that I would once again be that kid who didn’t know the world was such a bad place. Ignorance certainly is bliss when knowledge makes your heart break. But ignorance is not the better option.
I think it is perhaps satan’s greatest tactic to distract us from the truth of his evil work with insignificant things. “Ignorance is bliss” is probably his favorite saying. Do you know what I mean?
We all become obsessed with the color of a stupid dress on the internet and ignore the fact that Christians and innocent people are being raped and slaughtered all over the world. Yea, I know that isn’t a cozy thought. I know it makes us cringe but it’s the truth. The crimes that happen here on this reservation don’t just happen here and they didn’t just happen this week. This happens every week on reservations and middle class communities around the US and the world. We have simply chosen to become blinded by all the materials and comforts that cloud our view. We become blind to the truth of the pain because it is too hard to handle.
And I get it, I really do. I’m not judging you. I know that it is easier to ignore the pain. Trust me, I wish I didn’t know the truth. I don’t watch the news because the burden is too deep if I know the bad of the world. I can barely handle my here and now so I understand needing to shield ourselves from the overwhelming truth of evil.
But now, here in the midst of it, it cannot be ignored.
My mind and my heart know the atrocities and they will never forget them, for as long as I live. I have held the hands of the victims and preached God’s love to those who have felt abandoned by a “good” God. And I may want to lock myself in my room in my pajamas and watch tv for days and pretend none of it is happening, but I have a responsibility. I have a responsibility to be honest about who God is and be honest about the fact that I don’t have the answers. Any given Thursday when I preach at our youth event I could be talking to 50-60 kids. I don’t know their stories or their pain, but I must preach in a way that does not belittle it. I must preach in a way that helps them see God’s love through their pain, and goodness knows that I know how hard that is to believe sometimes.
So I am burdened. And I wish I didn’t know, but I am, in a weird way, grateful to be fully aware rather than fully ignorant. I would rather live a life pained by the pains of my people than go on happily in the false comfort of not knowing. Just because we don’t talk about it doesn’t mean it goes away. Just because we ignore it doesn’t mean that it stops happening. Evil happens. And its hard. And it will break us and challenge our faith and it will shatter so much of our own innocence.
But we cannot be silent. This has to stop. This distracting ourselves and pretending we can’t change things isn’t ok. You are right in one thing, we can’t change things. But we can hold on to those who are hurting. We can be on our knees every night praying to the One who does change things. We can give hope and truth to those who need it. Don’t give into the lie that we can’t make a difference anyways.
Last year this news would have broken me beyond repair. I would have lost my faith, questioned His presence, questioned Him as a loving God. Last year this would have broken me. But this year, all glory to God, is different. Obviously the impact is still great and the tears come and the anger is present because one cannot become completely hardened to this kind of evil. But the difference is that I now have a firm foundation built on the rock of His proven faithfulness. I see the evil but I know that God has not abandoned this community. I weep for the foothold Satan has, but I know that God’s love is stronger and His redemption will be bigger. I have the confidence now that His justice will reign. And I know that my God is still good, no matter what the news tells me.
Will you believe it with me? Will you ignore the mundane for just a moment, get on your knees and pray for our hurting world? Right this second. Let’s do what we can.
Let’s call on the Creator that we know has saved the world, no matter what the devil throws our way.