Friday, October 24, 2008

A Tough Week

Some weeks it seems like we tread in deeper water and for longer and extended periods of time continuing to believe and hope that the life-line will bounce up against us any moment now, but it doesn't.... so we keep treading.

Deep levels of very real pain and grief surround many of my friends this week.

We have had 20 funerals in 43 weeks at our church, and it's not just death that has made for a tough week.

I think of Matt Redmon's song, "Blessed Be Your Name".
"You give and take away, Lord, blessed be Your name"

Yesterday, I had to submit a report for basically what I have done this past year - along with reports from those who work with me in my area. As I reviewed my co-workers reports and then prepared my own, one word came to mind. Exhausted.

Shouldn't other words have come to mind? Satisfied, Excited, Hopeful, Fulfilled, Joyful, Grateful........

Truly, at most times, I am all of the above, but this week - nope.....just not there.

I met a young, energetic worship leader this week who made the comment to me, "shouldn't the church be a hospital?" Among other things, it certainly is, and this week for whatever reasons, we are seeing our share of hurting people who are in need of healing.

I can't help but think of part of yet another song lyric that describes this in great detail -

On they go through private pain,
Living fear to fear.
Laughter hides their silent cries,
Only Jesus hears.

People need the Lord, people need the Lord.
At the end of broken dreams, He's the open door.
People need the Lord, people need the Lord.
When will we realize, people need the Lord?

(thank you Phill McHugh and Greg Nelson for writing this)

I think the "private pain" part of that is what gets to me. People simply do not know what to do with the stuff they carry around with them. They feel afraid, they feel alone, they feel ashamed, they feel sorry for themselves, they feel anger towards others, they feel as if they have no hope, they can't be real with anyone for fear of revealing their private pain.

I think my new friend is right about the church being a hospital except for this one huge difference - when a person goes to the hospital, their pain is no longer private. Doctors, nurses, specialists, surgeons, etc. can't treat pain they don't know about. When we go to church, our pain most often remains private. We know God knows our pain, and we desperately want Him to help us - heal us, but we can't let the person seated next to us know we are hurting.

That makes me sad - I have to wonder if this is the way it is supposed to be?