(written yesterday, Sept 16)
This afternoon I watched the Biggest Loser and boo-hooed while I watched overweight people try to run a mile. Two of them ended up in the hospital. The rest of them made it but then sat aorund and shared all their junk that got them in this situation in the first place. There was some heavy junk. One woman lost her husband and two children in a car accident two years ago. Another woman had a drug addicted mother and spent years tossed back and forth in different foster homes.
We all have junk. What's yours? Did your mother do drugs and live with you on the street, only for you to be picked up and swept away into a number of foster homes? Did your parents get divorced when you were young and you've never felt truly worthy and loved because of it? Have you been emptied and carved out by an addiction- pornography? food? sex? Have you been betrayed by someone you loved? Have you seen someone you love die? Seen awfulness beyond comprehension? Have you seen the depth, depravity, darkness that exists in this world? That exists in your own life? Will you allow yourself to peer into it, completely? Or is it just too dark, too deep, too empty? Is it too raw and gaping?
Instead of looking it head on, I have found that I tend to want to fill it with STUFF. That stuff can be any number of things. For the people on the show last night it was food. It could be drugs, alcohol, food... or a number of "lesser evils" if you will: television, internet, material wealth, popularity, pornography, even counseling, friends, our own children.
I cried when I watch that show today because these people are finally looking down into their pit. But some of them will look down into it and see that its just too awful to really look at- then fill it with something else besides food: exercise, calorie counting, motivating words. And when they go home after changing their lives and losing hundreds of pounds, they're still going to be empty. They're still going to have a gaping, ragged emptiness that tears at them- maybe not all the time. Maybe not every time they look in the mirror like it does now. But in the quietness of their souls- when faced with a little silence and slowing of their pace, it will be there.
Am I saying I have it all together? Am I saying that I have fixed this hole, this longing in myself? Not at all. I'm simply one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread. If you're not one of those beggars, I guess you could stop reading. If you don't have a hole, a longing, I guess you've beat the odds. But I will tell you that I have it. I've looked into the depth of that hole- the awfulness of senseless tragedy, betrayal, emptiness, and depression. The reason I can face this pit instead of filling it with STUFF? Its because down at the very bottom of my pit- is a light. That light is Hope in the darkness. Does that mean the hole doesn't exist? Absolutely not. I am not so naive to believe that this Hope makes everything hunky dory and happy all the time. That light is Hope for eternity. By this, I don't mean spending the rest of my life with white robes, angels, and singing the Hallelujah Chorus over and over with some anonymous choir. I'm talking about hope for a future without all this depravity. Hope for healing. Not just for physical ailments. And not just for me. Healing for the earth. Its all broken. Everything about it moves toward death. There are glimpses of life and healing, but overall, it all leads toward destruction. Its all a part of this vast emptiness and darkness labeled "sin."
I want to convey this to you in a way that makes sense. That makes it all brilliantly clear and shines that light into your pit as well. But I just don't know if I can do that. Are you hopeless? There is Hope. Do you see the hopelessness of this world? People literally starving? I got an email from a friend today who is right this moment in Ethiopia adopting two children whose parents are dying of AIDS. The father has already died. They bought coffee and sugar to bring as a gift in the time of mourning that cost them $25. The people there don't make more than 10 cents a day on average. Some of them are putting up their children for adoption simply because they can't afford to care for them.
Its out there- its sickening. I know you've seen it too. But there is Hope for us all, praise God. Its all through the sacrifice made by Jesus Christ on that cross. Have you heard of it before? Does it mean nothing to you because you can't see how a loving God would condemn you? How a loving God would condemn your friend- a homosexual? an unwed mother? someone who's had an abortion? Or what about those that are starving and poor? How do they have the time to even consider these things when they are just trying to make ends meet, and get dinner on the table? I hear you. I hear you loud and clear... but will you please look again? See the cross and see on it the One who came to find and save that which was lost. Not to condemn it. He died so that we could LIVE. Instead of filling our lives with STUFF he died so we could fill it with Him and truly face our deep gaping pit of wounds and sinfulness. Because in Him there is healing. By his death- a true sacrifice, I have found Healing and Hope. I can sit here and say that no matter what happens. There is hope for me.
Do you want to consider this more with me? Will you comment or email me if you do? I certainly don't have the answers, but like I said, I am one beggar telling another one where to find food. I have found healing and wholeness in the person of Jesus Christ; forgiveness, mercy, and hope for a better world to come.