So I have to write today. I want to write today. But it isn’t easy…
My heart has been heavy for a few weeks now. And it grew heavier this week. Heavy to the point of breaking … or… of running away.
Sometimes life feels like a seesaw, all those ups and downs. My youngest children have discovered the fun of the seesaw (or teeter-totter, as my 3 year old insists). The ups and downs are enjoyable, fun even… and they can’t get enough. But all it takes is one wrong move (if your hands slip, if your partner decides to get off too soon, if you bump down too hard…) for the seesaw to go from fun to terrifying. And so, as their Mom, I stand vigil carefully guiding them, offering advice, “hold on tight! No, don’t let go!” But sometimes they make choices beyond my control and I have to kiss a booboo or calm a scared little girl.
Life, like a seesaw, can be very enjoyable. Even the ups and downs can bring excitement. But all too easily it can be overwhelming, scary even, and you just want to get off and run away!
That happened for me recently. For the last few weeks my heart has been heavy as I have felt the weight of broken relationships and hurting people. And then it got worse… news stories so horrific… well I still can’t put words more than that…
And I had enough. I wanted off this seesaw. I wanted to run away and never look back. I didn’t want to wrap my mind around it all. I wanted to look away, ignore it, move on, not deal with it (you get the point).
This morning I was reading in Matthew 14. And it isn’t pretty. John the Baptist was arrested and cruelly killed.
I wanted to close my Bible.
But I kept reading.
John’s disciples brought word of his death to Jesus. In Matthew 14:13 it says, “He (Jesus) withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place.”
Sometimes life is hard. Hard isn’t a strong enough word. Sometimes life is almost unbearable, too hard to face and we want to run away.
Jesus faced the ugliness of life. The awful cruelty of humanity. It hurt him. And he “withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place.” But unlike me, I don’t think he was running away.
Jesus often went away to a “solitary place” to pray and be alone with the Father. And, as I read Matthew 14 this morning, I felt Jesus wasn’t running away, he was running to God the Father.
When I want to run away, I need to run to God. I can’t just carry on as if nothing tragic has happened. I don’t have to run away and say I will never ride the seesaw again. Because here is the thing: the verses right after say that when the boat landed Jesus was again in the midst of a large crowd of people and “he had compassion on them” (verse 14). He healed their sick, met their needs, taught them… and then he performed one of his most well-known miracles: the feeding 5,000 with 5 loaves and 2 fish.
Jesus took the time to acknowledge the atrocities that had happened to John. He turned to God the Father. But then he opened his eyes to those in need and he poured right into ministering!
My heart is broken this week, more than I can say. I just want to run away. But I can’t run away, I need to run to the Father. And then I need to open my eyes and have compassion right where I am… to be willing, even with this hurt so close, to pour my heart into ministry RIGHT NOW. And trust that as Christ was strengthened, as Paul too, I can know:
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
When the seesaw of life makes you weak… When you just want to run away…
Run, instead, TO the Father.
Allow His grace and power to make perfect your weakness.