“That which tears open our souls, those holes that splatter our sight, may actually become the thin, open places to see through the mess of this place to the heart-aching beauty beyond. To Him. To the God whom we endlessly crave.”
- Ann Voscamp
Recently, I’ve been heavy with the weight of the hurt and pain I see around me. In the people I know and share life with. In the neighborhood and city I’ve come to love. In my church family. In the little faces that have pieces of my heart.
I find myself heavy over pains that aren’t mine. Crying over injustices I have not been the victim of. Feeling all of these hurts that weren’t meant for me. Pleading on behalf of circumstances I seem to have nothing to do with. And I’ve been asking God “Why?” a whole lot recently. Why do people get cancer and brain tumors? Why are kids abused? Why do people commit suicide and people are left with empty hearts? Why are there so many unloved orphans? Why do people have to be homeless and turned aside because of it? Why do girls get sold into sex slavery everyday? Why do women walk our streets at night? Why? And where, God, are You in all of that?
I was praying with a heavy heart the other day and crying out to God saying, “I feel all of this weight and hurt and pain, but God, I don’t feel You.” And in that, I heard his response. “That is me. When you feel all of those hurts and pains; when you cry over the brokenness of this world. That’s where I am. It’s just a different piece of me. I am with you. I cry alongside you. Your heart is starting to line up with mine and in that you will feel these pains deeper than you ever have. But I am there.”
I don’t have any answers. But I believe this weight I feel is actually good. I think I’m making a transition from being broken for the people around me to being broken with them. That’s what the incarnation is all about, isn’t it? Sharing in each other’s pains and burdens. Breaking alongside each other. It’s what he came here to do for us. I don’t know why terrible things happen. I don’t think I ever will. But as I pray, “Break my heart for what breaks Yours.” I should expect to be broken – with others, with my own brokenness, and with my God. But the beauty is that God is there in the brokenness, longing to fill every crack, this broken world has caused, with His glory.
May we be people who have hope through the pain and disappointments of life, for God is right alongside us.
Amber Martin is a high school graduate from Liberty, Pennsylvania. She serves on the 2013-14 Hunting Park Mission Year team, working at a small school called Logan Hope as an Art and computer teacher. She’s passionate about God, art, people, justice, good conversation, grace, and coffee. She absolutely loves Philadelphia.