Beloved Brothers and Sisters,
I have found that there is both beauty and heartache to the “gather-scatter” dynamic that is life as the local body. On Sundays we gather to proclaim the goodness and reality of our Risen Savior. We give hugs, we catch up, we pray, and then we scatter. We scatter to weeks, days, hours, and seconds that are so deeply diverse only the Good Shepherd can hold it all.
As I’ve thought and prayed and considered our not-so-little little church this week, the one thing that has come to mind over and over as I’ve thought about our diverse scattering is…try tears. Try tears and well worn prayers.
I won’t enumerate the brokenness in our world here. No doubt you likely feel inundated or have gone to great lengths to steward the news cycle or daily life is enough of a weight. We are a people by and large who have been taught to push through, power up, and make it happen. For some of us that has worked. For others that’s never been our game so perhaps we’ve gone the opposite direction. Maybe like me you find yourself on both sides at times. If I may, I’d love to invite us to consider another way.
Try tears. I saw this quote a long time ago and it’s stuck with me. Try tears. For some of us we’d love to try anything but tears, but as I’ve been reminded as many of us have journeyed through Ezra, tears are often the evidence of the move of God to soften our hearts and wet the soil for greater reliance and submission to him. I don’t know what you’ve been hurling your weight at this week. A rocky season at work, the evangelism of a beloved friend or family member, stewarding the day to day toil of a chronic illness, or the pain of deferred dreams and hopes. Like the disciples who asked Jesus,”what do we do?” may we too receive the invitation to depend (Mark 9:29).
So perhaps instead of more effort, we try more yielding to the glory and grace of God. In the tears we find that embodied grace is to be still before and dependent on a holy God who can do in a moment what we could never in a lifetime. God seems to have special regard for those who have tears (1 Sam 1:10-17, Genesis 16:11, Psalm 56:8, John 11:35, Rev 21:1-4).
As for the well worn prayers, I’ll leave you with this prayer - wherever you are, whatever it has been like to be you this week, this is your reality as a child of God:
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23
He loves you. He sees you. The still waters may be the space to try again but this time with tears of dependence and neediness.