Dear Life, I’d Like An Easy Button

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Yes.  I have an easy button on my desk.  When I push it, it proudly exclaims, “THAT was easy!” with the kind of arrogance that is born from the ignorance of knowing nothing about my actual life.

I battle the long-term effects of all the malaria every single day.  I don’t talk about it much because talking really doesn’t help mitigate the issues. My body doesn’t process stress well and stress is the one thing that seems to be present in abundance right now.  I walked into the gym today looking like the walking wounded.  My wrists were bound to support them so not to aggravate the tendons and now my elbow is bandaged too for tendinitis.  Seeing as I walk on it, it isn’t like I can rest it exactly.  My toe needed another surgical procedure to remove scar tissue my immune system overproduced and looks like someone took a scalpel to it because ,well, someone did.  I found out today my car needs 4 new tires… and these are the easiest things on a long list of current challenges.

All that to say, I’m writing this from being smack in the middle of the fray. If you are by chance wondering if life is ever is going to let up, I hear you.  I am right there too.

Some days, ahem years, I mean seasons of life just don’t go as planned.  Dreams die hard.  Friendships fade.  Transitions happen. Business ideas flop.  Ventures fail.  Illness rears its head.  The vision, once so clear, gets muddied by storms that come and keep coming and never seem to stop.  And there is nothing easy about any of it.

Sometimes Lazarus has the nerve to die before Jesus shows up.  I bet Martha and Mary would have loved an easy button too.

Grief sucks. Literally. It sucks the joy and life and hope and light right out of hearts and homes and communities who have known how bitter loss tastes.

Jesus is not asking us to pull ourselves up by our invisible bootstraps and put our church faces on.  He is not asking us to just “faith it till we make it baby!” And He certainly didn’t admonish Martha and Mary about how God let Lazarus die so He could teach everyone a lesson through the sickness.  Not. At. All.  But I’m sure everyone there learned quite a few lessons from their experience that day.  We might learn a few things too.

The shortest verse in Bible may also be the most powerful.

Jesus wept.

Jesus took one look at Mary’s heart ripped raw with pain and loss and grief, twisted up with questions and if-onlys. And He stood in the middle of that wailing mass and His tears fell alongside theirs.

I wonder if the world might be closer to being won if we did more weeping with and less preaching at.  In the middle of loss and pain, pep talks are not all that helpful, especially if they are accompanied by pointing fingers (real or perceived).

Jesus wept and then He raised the dead.  Compassion and power.  Church, we need both… desperately.  Great compassion without power only yields good humanitarianism.  Power devoid of compassion leads to dangerous authoritarianism.  We need both the compassion and the power of Jesus to see His Kingdom made known in our midst.   {And, personally, I would like a real-life, working easy button too.}