Wednesday, December 6, 2017

When People's Cries Go Unanswered

This was actually written a couple months ago. I hadn't quite finished it and therefore didn't post it. I am now posting as it was written. I believe the Psalm referred to is Psalm 34...

You don’t have to answer with any show of hands or verbal acclimation. But think on these words and answer in your heart – how many of you have felt, or are feeling, or are experiencing any of these things – poor in spirt… mourning…. Meek…. Hungry… thirsty… pure in heart… merciful… the need to be a peacemaker… persecuted for who you are?

I may be wrong, but my guess is that if I did ask for a show of hands for those who felt at least one of these, almost every hand would be raised.

But we’re supposed to believe these troubles are all worth it. Look at the Psalm we read today – let the humble hear and be glad… I sought the Lord and he answered and delivered me from my fears… look to him and you shall never be ashamed… the poor cried and were saved from trouble… you’ll have no want or lack in anything if you look to God…

We quote these passages, and we try to believe them. But the reality is not so nicely sugar coated. The reality is, we have people opening fire in schools, concerts, theatres, open streets. The reality is, we have people opening fire in their own homes, abusing or killing those they love. The reality is, we have people taking their own lives.

We have people who have cried out and felt their cries were left unanswered.

Allow me to take my original question a step further. Look upon those in this sanctuary. Do you know of anyone struggling – either emotionally or financially or spiritually? Anyone who may be poor in spirit… or hungry, thirsty? Again, I would expect most hands to be in the air right now had I had requested that.

And let’s go a step further…

Do you see anyone around you that is pure in heart… is merciful… tries to be a peacemaker… is persecuted for who they are and what they believe?

That’s harder to see. We see what people project and not what they are. We see what we wish to see. We ignore the rest or use that rest to persecute others.

A couple weeks ago, there was a horrific shooting in Las Vegas. It left nearly 60 dead and several hundred injured. We look at those victims as blessed in the eyes of God. If we were honest with ourselves, before the shooting, we probably would have looked at many of them as partiers and sinners and not amongst the blessed. But today, we see them differently. We see them as children of God who were wrongfully gunned down and killed or injured.

And we see the gunman as a horrible person.

The truth is – those victims were just as much sinner as they were saint. And the gunman was just as much saint as he was sinner.

This isn’t just a Las Vegas thing. This is an every day thing. Our friend, our neighbor, the person in the pew behind you, or perhaps yourself… someone feels unworthy. Someone feels persecuted. Someone feels abandoned by others and by God. Someone feels that the only way to escape the heartache is to leave this world. Someone feels so much anger and resentment that they desire to take others with them.

I attended a walk recently to “Silence the Stigma”. It’s an event to help raise awareness about suicide and suicide prevention. I lost two brothers to suicide and two other friends. And, admittedly, I have considered and tried it myself. And one question keeps coming to mind – where is God. Our Psalm says that of we reach out, he’ll be there. In the vegas shooting (or any shooting), we find ourselves asking “where was God”.

The answer to that is simple –God was right there inside all of us.

We chose to ignore the warning signs.

Don’t misunderstand – those warning signs may not have been shown to you specifically. Or, even if they were shown, it may not have been easy to pick up on. But each of us is responsible for our brothers and sisters.

Always reach out to others. Be aware of signs that someone may be feeling alone, unworthy, or unloved. And reach out. Remember that we are each both saint and sinner, and that we all need the love we easily hand out to the saint and withhold from the sinner.


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