Hurting With Hope
A few weeks ago, I came to our weekly Bingo & Bagels after a sleepless night with a heavy heart. I had been up late watching the news with my roommates as the story broke about the gunman who was firing at Dallas police officers after a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest. We watched wordlessly, our hearts breaking in unison, as we were told that police officers had been shot, and then later that many of their deaths had been confirmed. Even after we turned off the television and went to bed, sleep eluded me as my soul ached for the families of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and all of the police officers who had been slain in the line of duty that night.
As breakfast progressed that morning and we transitioned into family time, I stood in the back of the room, listening to our NET family voice prayer requests, and I realized how truly tired I was. Not just body tired from my lack of sleep, but truly weary in my soul over the brokenness of the world. I was tired of praying over the shootings in our country, the violence overseas, and the political headache that is this election season. I was tired of hearing that one of our friends wasn’t at Bingo that week because he had been arrested, or another friend’s family member was in the hospital, or someone had been dealt another setback in their quest to pull themselves out of their homelessness. I was so tired of constantly feeling so broken and helpless for this world.
But, as we bowed our heads in prayer, I was struck suddenly by the beauty of the community spread out before me. Male and female, black and white and hispanic, old and young, homeless and privileged – all with their heads bowed together, praying as one body to the same God. I was moved to tears as I felt deep in my soul just how truly powerful it is to be a part of a community that comes together, sets aside its differences, and moves as one body – celebrating together, mourning together, and, most importantly, loving together.
As I allowed myself to feel the love and goodness that saturated that room, I was reminded of a very important truth: God is at work in this city.
Despite the poverty, violence, and sex trafficking that seems to choke Fort Worth, the scene before me was undeniable evidence that God is at work, reconciling this city to itself and to Himself, making Fort Worth look more like Heaven every day. And if God is at work in Fort Worth, then he is most certainly at work in Dallas, Baton Rouge, Orlando, and every other city in this country- and this world- that is hurting and broken. Even when we are blind to all but evil, even when the darkness seems inescapable, God is moving and shaking and transforming it all to His glory.
This is not to say that I am not still heartbroken over the current state of affairs. I will continue to weep over all of the lives lost and mourn for those who are left behind. But, even when I hurt, I hurt with the knowledge that I am not hurting without hope. I hurt knowing that every day we get closer to a day when death and tears will be no more, and we will live in true right relationship with God, with ourselves, with each other, and with the rest of creation. And, I hurt knowing that every week, I will join a room full of people who will set aside our seemingly insurmountable differences and hurt with me, pray with me, and love with me.