Last Thursday night I got all my kids in bed and sat on the couch to rest for the day. I tried so hard to relax and just focus on NYmed that I was watching on tv, but my heart couldn’t. It was as if my entire week of pushing aside thoughts and feelings were needing to burst out of me.
I took myself to bed at a super early time and as I crawled into bed the tears started coming. I couldn’t stop them and I tried to get as far under the covers as I could possibly get. I wanted to hide my tears, and more than that I wanted to hide my fear. This past week was hard for so many people around the world, and yet all week long I spent my time trying to ignore it all. Feeling as if I could pretend it wasn’t happening if I didn’t do anything. I stayed away from my computer, so I could not accidentely see something on twitter. I didn’t watch my normal 30 minutes of news every morning, because I just couldn’t handle it. I was literally and figuratively hiding from it all.
The fact that people around the world are being persecuted for their faith was hard for me. It took me back to last December when we lost a friend because of his faith. His wife has been a widow for 8 months now. People claiming Jesus was costing them their lives, and yet I’m still asking forgiveness for the same damn thing after fifteen years of walking with the LORD. They are risking it all for the sake of Jesus, and I put more thought into my next podcast this month than I have with sharing the love of Jesus with my neighbors. All I could do on Thursday was hide. I wanted to stay in my bed forever. Loving Jesus is no joke.
A new father was shot in a Wal-Mart for walking around with a gun. He was on the phone with his wife and he was shot to death. He was black and had a toy gun that was thought to be real and he was then shot to death in a Wal-Mart. This all happened in a state where you can actually carry a real gun out in public and not get shot. He had a toy gun. I read the article on Thursday and literally wept. I have two black sons that play with toy guns and I wept for them. I feel so unequipped to raise them. Being black with a toy gun is no joke.
A black teenager was shot in MO and the town went crazy. It’s hard to be black in America and anyone that says it’s not doesn’t have one black friend, or isn’t black themselves. I recently began attending a beautiful group here in Austin where we talk about racial reconcilliation. At our first meeting we talked about the first time we remember racism in our lives. I kid you not every single white person spoke of the first time they saw racism towards someone else, and as you probably guessed, every black/Asian person remembered the first they felt racism. I HAVE NEVER EXPERIENCED RACISM IN MY LIFE. As long as I live in America I won’t. My boys will. My daughter will. For them I wept when everything went down in Missouri. No matter what happened in this situation, being back in America is no joke.
Then there are my friends Scott & Chelsea that are literally begging God to heal their new daughter as they sit by her side day after day, and night after night, in the ICU. She didn’t bring home her baby after 48 hours in the hospital. Her baby girl has been in ICU since the minute she was born, and that makes me want to lay under my blanket and cry. Being a parent with a baby in the NICU is no joke.
I lay there in my bed on Thursday and I didn’t want to face Friday. I didn’t want to acknowledge that this is our world. My heart hurt too badly for everyone that was hurting, for everyone that was losing loved ones, and for everyone that was experiencing racism. I was broken. I wanted to hide. I wanted to sleep and then wake up to a new twitter feed that included love and life and peace.
Saturday I sat under the teaching of our pastor Matt and he shared how he was feeling these feelings. He wasn’t hiding under his blanket crying, and not wanting to face the next day, but yet he was begging Jesus to come back and make this all right. That’s our hope as believers, that this is not our home. Jesus will come back and he will make all of this right. He promised. That’s the only way we can get out from under our covers and face the next day that holds more pain. As Matt talked he said how he felt the Holy Spirit impress this on his heart … “You are the light of the world” ….. When he said this the tears started flowing again as I remembered my night under the covers. The hiding. The not wanting to face the pain of the next day. The fear of the world. The fear of the pain, the ugliness, the hurt, the racism, the sickness, all of it.
YOU ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD JAMIE. Do not be afraid of the dark, for in the dark the light can shine.
Remember that song you learned as a child in church? This little light of mine, I’m gonna let is shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. Hide it under a bushel? No! I’m gonna let it shine. Let it shine. Let it shine. Let it shine. This is what we need to remember friends. We are the light. We are the light. As I laid in my bed hiding under the covers, weeping, I was hiding my light under a bushel. I’m not gonna do that anymore. You see Jesus lives in me and HE IS THE LIGHT. He is the only hope for racism, persecution, and NICU babies.
As I go into this new week, I want to raise my head high as I beg Jesus to help us love him more, and show his love to others. I am going to take the light that I have and be bold with it. Jesus says, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” As believers we don’t have to hide in the darkness, because Jesus is the light. He promises that if we follow him we will have the light of life.
God I pray that as we go throughout our days we will be YOUR light. That we will be the light of life. That we will be a people that bring light to darkness. I pray that in my life in Austin, for the Christians around the world as they fear for their lives, for people in Ohio where John Crawford was shot, for people in Missouri where Michael Brown was shot, and for all the families in the NICU that wait for their babies to get well.
LET US BE YOUR LIGHT.