One day, I did something very unusual. I sat in a cafeteria while 5th and 6th grade students were eating lunch and cried. I didn’t care who saw. I was upset about something, but it took more than that to make me cry. In fact, I did exactly what I always advise other people not to do. I thought about one problem and let it remind me of a lot of other problems, things in the past. I sat there and thought about every person I’d ever known who went through some traumatic thing that I thought there was some possibility I could have prevented if only I had done something a little differently.
There was dropping out of school, becoming drug addicts, getting evicted from houses, shooting up, getting pregnant before finishing high school, getting diseases, quitting church, getting involved in prostitution, suffering physical abuse, and going to prison for selling crack. All these things have happened to people I’ve known, people I had a chance to influence.
As if that wasn’t enough, I didn’t stop there. Then, I thought about people I don’t even know. Starving kids in foreign countries, people who get murdered, abused, raped. People whose loved ones die. Persecuted Christians. Little kids who get cancer. All the ugly things that happen to people in the world. And so yeah, I was crying, and I didn’t care who saw. I was crying for everything and everybody, even the kids in that cafeteria, knowing some of their stories were sad or would be. Yeah, this world’s really messed up. So I asked, “God…can’t You…do better than this?”
His answer was this. First, He reminded me that all those people I know, His love for them is infinitely greater than mine could ever be, so His heart is infinitely more broken than mine for them… Then, He reminded me that all those people I don’t even know, His love for them is that great as well. (How can He handle so much heartbreak…?) Next, He gave us all a wonderful world to live in. Everything in this world that’s wonderful, every happy memory we’ve ever had…it’s all from Him. Not only that, but He gave us everything we need to know to keep our lives happy and everything we need to know so that after this life, we can live a perfect life with Him forever. It’s all right here (in the Bible). If only we’d read it, if only we’d listen…
If we ever doubted that anything He told us to do or anything He told us to NOT do was in our best interest, if we ever thought that maybe He just wanted to waste our time or ruin our fun, He proved He loved us too much to ever do that to us. HE DIED FOR US. He is smarter than all of us put together. He has more love for us than all of us put together. Everything He tells us to do is for our benefit, our peace, our joy, our fulfillment. Everything He tells us not to do will only bring us sorrow and pain. Yet, so many ignore His loving commands, choosing instead to follow our own ideas, the world’s ideas about what will make us happy… So many people doing that, each of us doing that sometimes, that’s what makes this world messed up. So God’s question back to me, back to everyone: “Can’t you…do better than this?”
“But I’m only one person. What can I do?”
That’s the question that we each need to ask ourselves.
Here’s what I can came up with. In a world of great darkness, I can be a small light when I reflect His light. Jesus said, I am the Light. When I feel discouraged, I can push forward, relying on Him, so that somehow, in my own unique way, I can bring God’s love to a world that so desperately needs it.
“To all the ones I’ve wanted to save from sorrow but couldn’t: I’m thinking of you tonight. I still love you, and I’m sorry. By trying to help, I have taken your burdens into my heart, and now a portion of them weighs on my shoulders as well as your own, but I don’t regret trying…”
Psalm 34:18 – The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Jeremiah 31:3 – The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”
Zephaniah 3:17 – The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 – Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
Isaiah 40:11 – He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.
Genesis 1:31 – God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning – the sixth day.
James 1:17 – Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
Matthew 6:31-33 – So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Psalm 119:165 – Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.
2 Timothy 3:16 – All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.
1 John 5:3 – In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome.
Died for Us:
John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Isaiah 55:9 – As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Galations 3:22 – But Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.
1 John 5:19 – We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.
Jesus is the Light:
John 9:5 – While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.
PS. Some may wonder what I mean when I say that “God answered”. Though I believe it is possible, I am not claiming in this instance that God spoke out loud to me. I do think it’s possible that He acted to answer me by directly putting the answer in my mind, but I can’t be sure of that. However, God did answer me one way or another. If He did not directly put the answer in my mind, it is still the answer that He gave long before I inquired of Him, the answer from His Word. This can be seen by how easily I was able to collect the scriptures to support the answer. Because of this, the importance of being familiar with the Bible should not be underestimated. When you are familiar with His Word, God will answer you even when He does not choose to speak out loud to you or put an answer into your mind directly.