I think the hardest part about being in Newark is dealing with the brokenness of this world. It’s easy to hide behind our comfortable lives and not be confronted with all the ways other people are struggling and hurting.
It’s hard to escape the struggle and hurt in Newark. It’s everywhere…and it has made me ask so many questions. Why do these children not have enough to eat? Why do some of them have to be raised by drug-addicted parents? Who is going to teach those girls how to be women and who will teach those boys how to be husbands and fathers one day? Why did my 7 year old friend have to watch her father get shot on the street? Why is a 19-year-old dying from a terminal illness? And why aren’t any of those stories mine?
The brokenness of this world is right before my eyes and my heart doesn’t know how to handle it.
Yes, God is sovereign. But oh, so much of life is hard.
There have been times (like, say, yesterday), where I literally just broke down from all of the – “whys” and blatantly told God that this sucks. Wrestling with God’s goodness and sovereignty in the midst of a world of brokenness is harder than I thought.
One of the most crucial things I have learned as I’ve processed and wrestled with all of this is that it’s okay to be not okay. But God is still good. So in the moments when the weight of all of this is really too much to bear and life really really hurts, it isn’t helpful to shrug my shoulders, play the “God is good” card, and pretend like everything is great.
What my heart needs more than that to sit in all of this. My heart needs to deal with it because the brokenness I see around me is simply a reflection of the brokenness that is also inside my heart. So I sit in that…I wrestle with it. I tell God that I really really don’t like this and that and wish life wasn’t so hard sometimes. But I also have to (sometimes amidst tears and frustration), let my heart sit in the fact that God is always good.
I think I’m realizing that the way to respond to this brokenness isn’t to hide from it, or to numb yourself to the pain of it all because “God is so great” and “everything happens for a reason”, but to honestly come before the throne and say “This sucks, but you are good.”
And I will be the first to say that it doesn’t instantly make everything better. Because you still feel it all. You still feel the pain and hurt and frustration and struggle. But deep down you know that Jesus carried all of that for you…for them…and He is graciously working to make everything new.
And that’s where I believe the real gift lies – in being able to embrace life when it hurts but also quietly rest in the fact that God is always good.