As I write this, hear this as venting please. I’m just tired. Lot’s going on. Lots to process. There is nothing else to do except to just sit still. That’s all. If you know me, I don’t like sitting still. It’s a horrible feeling just to sit still. I hate sitting still. I feel helpless when I sit still and that I can’t do anything to help when something happens that completely isn’t right and that is totally wrong and unfair. Especially when I know that something in this world doesn’t make sense at all like a person deciding that he’s going to blow away a bunch of kids and some adults. It doesn’t make sense that there are 20 little kids who won’t see their parents again and that 20 parents won’t drop off nor pick up their kids from school nor wake up with them on Christmas morning. It sucks that a mom lost her life today and it’s horrible that the guy who did this also struggled and had his own issues that obviously were not confronted and ignored and yes, the issue of guns is a conversation that needs to happen no matter what side one sits on.
All I kept thinking about today as I prepared for Sunday worship was my kids. I remember vividly dropping off and picking up my kids from kindergarten. I remember the feeling the first day of school, walking onto the campus, walking each one to their classrooms, and dropping them off. I also remember the times of volunteering to chaperone on trips as well as helping out in the classroom. I remember some of the feelings that I had dropping them off each day. Will they be accepted? Will they fit in? Will the teacher be patient? Will they be picked on and will they be able to stand up for themselves? If web cams back then were a little more advanced I’d figure out a way to strap a web cam on their little heads just for the peace of mind of knowing that I could check up on them and make sure they were safe and that they were doing okay. I also remember that feeling that I had picking them up from their kinder class every day. I remember the looks the other parents had as well. We all shared that same feeling and wondered it how did it go today? When they were escorted out the classroom door by their teacher, there was almost this loud sigh of relief that you were able to hear from the parents when they saw their little ones emerge from their little adventure called kindergarten.
Today the world is just a little off. Fine. It’s totally been knocked off its axis. Parents are in pain. Siblings have had their worlds turned upside down. Parents won’t be the same and are still awake as we speak. Something has been grabbed from them and it’s not fair. It’s not right. I heard one reporter talk about how one parent moved a car seat from the car and placed it into the trunk and the image that left on his brain that something has changed today in the lives of 26 families.
Sitting still sucks. I want to do something. I want to go and help comfort. I want to weep for them. I have a huge list of I wants. I feel helpless in some ways. I can’t explain it really. I know that I am a pastor. I follow Jesus. I need to be someone that proclaims joy in the midst of a season of waiting and especially when there is something that happens that kicks us in the gut and rips our hearts out. When my kids got home to today, I made sure we talked. I listened. They knew something was off too. As for our oldest who is away right now on a mission trip? I really wanted to hear his voice today.
In Advent we proclaim a message that we wait for joy to come. God promised that Emmanuel would come, God with us and this should give us joy. God is with us in our pain and in our suffering. God is with us when the world is off. God is with us when we still dont’ get it right. God is with us even when we can’t sit still and comes to us in our anger, in our sadness, and in our wanting him to come right now and yes God is with us when the word “joy” isn’t the word we want to hear.
So, in advent I will sit. I will wait. I will pray. I will pray hard. I will wait with hope that Jesus will come and that he will be joy in the midst of pain and suffering. I will also sit knowing that God is with us and that God is one of comfort and hasn’t left his people alone. I will listen to God’s wanting us to be still and to know that God is with us. Tonight, I wait with even a greater desire to just sit still and to just be. In waiting I find hope. In waiting I find comfort and for this reason I will wait for joy to come again. I will wait for Emmanuel to come and comfort God’s people and I pray that in this time of waiting that those who suffer tonight will experience the joy of knowing that God is with us even when we don’t want to sit still. Even when we don’t get it. Even when the world is not just a little off, but completely wacked and yes I will pray for God to heal.
“Lord, have mercy. Lord, hear our prayers tonight for those who suffer and for those who hurt. Be with those who feel like sitting still isn’t enough. Be with those who have every right to be angry and be with those who need your comfort tonight. Special prayers for those parents who can’t sleep right now. Prayers of peace for those who weep and who want their kids back and prayers for those who helped on the ground, especially those who have seen things that should never be seen and for those teachers who will have to go back to work on Monday as well as parents who won’t be able to drop their kids off at school ever again. We pray for healing and we pray that you will meet them in their pain and suffering. Lord help us to be still. Help us to wait for you and help us to be able to see that you indeed are with us. “Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayers.”
“Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.'” Matthew 1:23
“Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.” Psalm 46:10