Tumbling in the Sand
“Surely, this commandment that I am commanding you today is not too hard for you, nor is it too far away. It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will go up to heaven for us, and get it for us so that we may hear it and observe it?’ Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will cross to the other side of the sea for us, and get it for us so that we may hear it and observe it?’ No, the word is very near to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart for you to observe.” – Deuteronomy 30:11-14
Sometimes I wish that your commandments, your will, your purpose, your dream were a little bit closer to my heart and my mouth. Sometimes, I wish it were a little easier to do what you would will and easier to know what your will is. Sometimes, I feel like you are far away in heaven or across the sea or have left us all alone to figure it all out on our own.
Sometimes I feel a bit lost. I look at the world around me — so much hatred and suffering and pain. I am sickened when I hear people attack others with stereotypes and hatred, with words that pierce like daggers and wound like bullets. I weep when I hear of yet another shooting by police who really are better than that, who really should be better than that … I cry out when I hear of another bombing in Baghdad, in Turkey, in … where will it be tomorrow? Who will die by violence next?
And there is more, too. There is the wear of daily living. The difficulties of job losses, of illness—of people I love getting sick and hurt, of people in the community struggling with loss and where they belong. There is the wonder of how a church community holds together, stays healthy, and grows in the midst of a world where so many people seem to think that the church is no longer needed. … oh, and there is always laundry and the dishes.
So much to do that seems necessary and what you would want and yet so much … SO MUCH. So overwhelmingly much. I am reminded of that prayer that I learned from the Children’s Defense Fund (that came from who knows where): “Dear Lord, be good to me. The sea is so wide and my boat is so small.”
God, whom we name Emmanuel—God with us—please let it be true that your word is near. Please let it be true that you are nearer to me than I am to myself and that you are closer than I can ever imagine. Let it be that your vision of justice and healing and mercy is growing in the midst of the brokenness I see. Give me the faith to believe that you have this all in hand — even my own wandering heart — and that you will indeed be good in the midst of this great wide sea.