Today after work, interstate traffic was at a standstill which hasn’t happened in a month. I thought “oh, my goodness. To have a wreck on top of everything else that is going on right now would be awful.” As I pulled slowly forward and took an exit, I saw why traffic was stopped. It wasn’t a wreck. It was a young man obviously attempting to jump off of a bridge onto what would have been a busy interstate.
I was shaken to my core and immediately began praying for him and the officers trying to lure him away from the edge. One officer, God bless him, held tightly to only one of the young man’s wrists because the other was attached to the hand grasping firmly to the bridge. In that moment I prayed for angels to form a wall between that young desperate man and the pavement below, and for that officer to have the strength and words of God to ease him from the edge. Not only from the edge of the bridge, but the edge of hopelessness.
Tears of anger and frustration and heartache flowed down my face as I prayed, because I knew that this one young man was a representation of thousands if not millions. I prayed for him, the officers on scene, the first responders that stood watching helplessly from below, the traffic passing by and then I phoned a friend who joined me in praying over that situation and for each and every person that felt hopeless.
My heart has been stirred since the beginning of the COVID regulations to pray over those in isolation. I half-heartedly referred to it as a cross between being grounded and attending the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, but isolation can be a powerful force and foe, and for many it opens the door that slowly lets hope seep out.
Some are praying against the virus, that it would leave just as quickly as it came, while others are praying for those affected by the virus itself, for our medical community and for those affected by the ripple effects on our economy. We are all anxious at this point because of the uncertainties that have found their way into our lives. My question is what are you praying for? What are you asking for? What are you petitioning for? Because it better be something.
I’ve noticed that the sound of chirping birds seems to be in stereo these days. Each time I hear them, I’m reminded that they don’t worry. They trust. But they’re birds and we’re humans and the faith walk is not an even path. It is rugged terrain that is sometimes filled with potholes of fear and doubt and yes, the loss of hope that things will get better. It’s because our faith is rooted in hope that we continue on regardless of how rocky or desolate the terrain becomes.
The lyrics to one of my favorite songs say “the ocean roars and the rocks cry out.... the sun comes up and the wind blows”. Those words beautifully describe how nature worships. Creation has been worshipping all around us while our lives move at a speed that makes pursuing Jesus something that’s only done when we’re fearful, anxious or hopeless and that’s perfectly fine with Him. He’s there, waiting.
Nature has always been bold in its worship but we haven’t. It’s time. Not because there is a pandemic called COVID, not because there is a pandemic called addiction. It’s time because the world, not just our towns, cities or states, but THE WORLD is scared and losing hope. The Message of Hope comes from those that have walked through the fire and come out of it closer to the One that walked with them and facilitated their escape.
I’ve been told I have a voice for those struggling with addiction and mental illness, and those that have lost loved ones. That voice means nothing if I’m not first a voice for my Savior. For His goodness, despite all the ugliness. For His provision, despite what appears to be an overwhelming lack of resources. For His care and compassion for the fears that overwhelm those He loves so dearly. He sees all. He considers. He loves all. He died for all. He has carried me through the greatest loss a parent can face and I’m still here. Fighting. Praying. Believing. But only because of the hope I have in Him.
Humanity is suffering in ways that most of us have never seen. But He has. The response that you see that is being heralded as the goodness of mankind and the coming together of communities to help in any and every way possible is HIM.
There is the capital "C" church and there is the little "c" church. The former is the voice of Hope in dire times. The latter is seeing that their devotion to a building leaves them in the same place as the lost. Hopeless. Harsh words, I know, but the truth often can not be sugar coated and spoon fed. The Church, His Bride, is not bound to a building or a congregation. He wasn't and we were never meant to be. We are called to be His hands and feet. And His voice. They will know us by our fruit - what we say, what we do and how we react. This is the time to rise up, by His Spirit, joining in prayer as Heaven leads, praying that the dry bones become flesh and asking to be facilitators that lead those that don't know who he TRULY is directly to His scarred feet.
We know who He is and what He has done, what He promises to do, and what awaits those who receive Him.
Heaven hears our prayers and responds. Whatever your prayers are, big or small, send them up. And please remember that there are those who like the young man on the bridge who do not see that there is more than their current circumstances. Remember that there are those that have no one praying for them. Remember that for some, the pain and fear is so deep and so real, that not only do they not have hope, they feel no love. Remember that as believers, we are to pray. To ask. To seek. To knock. To lead. To point. To light. To love. To offer hope. A very scared and broken world needs all He promised to provide and we are the vessels.
I do not know the outcome of what happened today. I do not know if that young man let go of the bridge to allow the officer to hold his other hand, but I know I will never be the same. Something in me became acutely aware of how easily desperation can overcome someone, and for many, these are desperate times.
I have great hope that he is now receiving much needed help. I have great hope that the capital C church will rise up in prayer, worship and love and be who we were called to be. And I have unwavering hope in what He will do with all that we are facing.
And if you identify in any way with that young man, be willing to reach out if your hope is waning. You are not alone.