I went to the dentist today, and there’s just no way that labor is worse. The hygienist kept asking me if it was too much. Here’s a hint, when you have to suction the pooling blood from my mouth over five times, it’s too much. You shouldn’t need a blood transfusion after a teeth cleaning.
This year the Holy Spirit has been teaching me about what it really means to be like Jesus. As a Christian, we often talk about how God is forming us into Christ’s image, but as I look at my life, it doesn’t look much like Jesus’ life. When we were in Congo and everything was falling apart, we took comfort in knowing that our sorrows were familiar to our Savior. We reminded ourselves that we worship a homeless man who was betrayed by his friends and murdered. We should expect no less if we want to be like him.
Right after I posted last week about struggling to find contentment, the Holy Spirit brought me Isaiah 53:3, which describes Jesus as a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. I had to laugh at myself. Here I was wallowing in self-pity about my discontent. If I love Jesus and want to be like him, should I not expect to be a woman of sorrows and acquainted with grief? In fact, I should be rejoicing in the honor of sharing sorrow with my brothers and sisters. I should be so blessed as to feel a slight bit of the pain that Jesus felt when he walked the earth.
I don’t want to forget the world is broken. I don’t want to be isolated from its brokenness. As a wealthy American, my default is to flee – ignore the homeless, move to the suburbs, don’t watch the news, stay at a fancy resort in a developing country. Pretend like it’s not there. It’s easier to sleep at night. It’s easier to rationalize my own existence.
On Friday night I was blessed to join with some sisters to go out on the street to meet and pray with women who were selling their bodies to men. Each time I go out with this group, I am amazed and changed. Just miles from where I sleep and in the late night/early morning hours while I am sleeping, there’s so much activity. This particular night we were near Midway airport, a familiar drive that feels like a different place at midnight. You turn down a street and see the women scattered around, getting into cars with these strange men. It’s utterly heartbreaking, and it is absolutely where Jesus is.
Before we go out, I usually pray that I will see Jesus in the faces of the women, the pimps and even the Johns. I can’t say I’ve gotten there with the men, but when I see these women, I do see Jesus. While my whole body is telling me to flee, my Spirit knows that it is exactly where I am supposed to be. These are the beautiful unique children of God caught up in a world full of darkness.
Then on Saturday morning, we cooked breakfast at a cafe for the homeless. Another opportunity to meet with Jesus. An opportunity to praise God that this world is temporary and falling away. The brokenness is real, but so is God.
I don’t have any answers, but I do have hope. I have hope in a Savior who comes to save the lost. A Savior who has defeated death already. One over whom the powers of darkness have no power but that which he gives. I have hope that he will come again and wipe away every tear. I am sorrowful, but so is he.