This week in Melbourne has been one which has brought a very great trauma to our great city and to it’s people. A lone man decided to drive chaotically and without restraint or care, through the busy city street and mow down countless innocent individuals – out for lunch, having coffee, working….each one going about their day, unaware that this day would be like no other and if they returned home that night – they would be changed forever.
It makes us all stop and feel so much. Disbelief, anger, upset, grief…..generally we are untouched by the stories we see and hear of overseas, but when it happens in a place we know well, it’s a different story isn’t it!
I think for me, it makes me feel vulnerable, because it might have been my neighbour, my parent or my friend. It could even have been my own life that was taken in an instant, as a result of someone else’s devestating decision for destruction.
It is shocking and brings grief and questions from deep within me.
This week I have avoided watching too much about it, because the very atmosphere of Melbourne has been shaken and I felt it. In fact, I believe that the Melbourne incident has not been the only grief this week. As deaths, infirmities, upsets and trauma seem to fill the air, as the cries of people’s hearts seem to scream out.
What am I to do with all of this?
Where is the hope?
It can all seem just too overwhelming.
It is at this point, at this very moment that I am given an opportunity.
It seems strange and almost like a steak knife add “but wait there’s more!”
The reality is, in this world, we will have trouble.
The bible tells us this clearly.
For myself, the bible also provides the only other option for me….and that is to cling to hope….and Hope’s name is Jesus.
You see, when I find myself in a place of overwhelmedness (is that even a word? lol)
When I realise that I literally have no control over what happens to or around me.
That can be an extremely scary place. It can be a place of absolute hopelessness.
It is at these times, that I have to “go to my knees” as it were and cry out to God. I know it’s pointless asking why….but I am learning steadily to ask a better question…what now?
You see, if I ask why….I am actually inadvertantly placing blame upon a perfect God. I am accusing a loving God of failing to be loving – and yet my experience of Him tells me that isn’t ever true. God in fact, is a lover of all – even the one who was behind the wheel this week.
That is a hard pill to swallow and somewhat confusing because we long for justice – but it’s the truth.
When I ask the question what now – it opens the way for God to respond in and through me – out of whatever comes my way.
Over time, I have had too many experiences that prove that God ultimately redeems all things that look to overtake me. I do not understand all things, but all things are understood by Him…the one who loves me to pieces.
As I read my bible, I see time and time again examples, where a loving God – reaches down and brings greater good for the troubled, oppressed or hurting. He sent Jesus for that very purpose. I cannot imagine what it was like for Him to go to the cross, die and then to rise again 3 days later. What a whirlwind of emotion….what a potential for just falling apart and losing it.
The way we feel when something bad happens around us, can crush or embitter us. It can consume our days and steal our nights. It can turn us into the very things we said we would never become. Hard. Judgemental. Fill in the gaps for yourself…..
Or it can be redeemed as we release the heaviness into the hands of Jesus and choose to trust once again.
It takes courage to come to Him. It takes a brave heart to choose to pick up hope once more, espeically after it’s taken a beating. It is only when I have pressed into hope, that I see the possibilities and good available to me.
Can I encourage us both, to pick it up. Dust it off, if it’s been sitting in an unused box for a while.
Let’s start to dream again.
Let’s begin to hope again.
Let’s allow the hard things of life, to springboard us into a more purposeful journey.
Let’s not allow the trouble to overwhelm us.
Let’s give Jesus, back the things he died for, so that we can walk in hope and peace.
Dare to dream. Dare to let go of the very things that have invaded your journey. Dare to trust God for something good within the moment of hard.
My best friend and I share a special expression. We use the word token. We have both had extremely difficult seasons over the past few years healthwise. We have cried, complained, uplifted one another within the hardship.
Then she shared with me a story of her shopping trip. In many Australian supermarkets, we have to insert a shopping trolley token or coin, in order to release it from the other trolleys. It is a bit of a pain to find a token at times….so I often find myself scrounging around in the bottom of my handbag, trying to find the appropriate token to insert. On this day, she was passed a trolley by someone and the token was already inside the trolley connector.
She had had an ordinary day, and this lifted her spirits a great deal.
We chatted later and she shared the story with me. We now look for “token” stories to encourage one another in. Even if the day has been a rotter, there is always something that can be classed as a token moment. We have both found, it is easy to see and articulate the hard, and when we do – we often feel just as awful. When we search out the token moments, it invests the very essence of God into that terrible place and increases faith and hope levels. He has never let us down.
In this circumstance, in Melbourne this last week.
What is the token moment? What can we draw from this situation that is good?
At first glance, you might think, very little. I have to say for myself. It has made me hug my kids a little tighter. It has made me more thankful for the meal before me. It has made me appreciate my hubby a little more.
I have taken more time to look up and around me and be thankful for the beauty and wonder. It doesn’t fix the problem of what happened….but it can inspire us to live more purposefully as a result.
The choice is ours today.
What will I do with the circumstances that come?
How will I respond to them?
Hang in there precious ones. Things can change in an instant.
God is right beside you, sometimes holding your hand, sometimes lifting you up when you don’t have the strength. That is a God who loves so deeply, so passionately and without limit….Sit for a moment and enjoy the peace He brings to this chaotic world. Then go out and truly live. Encourage others. Love others in meaningful and deep ways. Appreciate the life you’ve been given. Value the lives of others.
This heaviness will go in time and you have an opportunity to allow it to impact you, but impact you in a FULL way that brings life to others and to your own walk.
God bless you all.
Have a great week ahead. 2017 is going to be a purpose filled and wonderful year of growth. Looking forward to sharing more with you. Much love to you and yours. xxxxx