It seems that each week we just can’t escape more news that drives our society apart. We go from war to gun violence to legislation and opinions to hearings and more opinions that divide us rather than bring us together. We surely are living in chaotic times.
If that isn’t bad enough, so many of us are dealing with seemingly inexplicable personal tragedies. I have the ability to share mine with you at times and from the responses I get, I know it’s as if I’m in the head and hearts of so many of you with similar situations. Just when it seems things can’t get worse personally, they do, with an inexplicable illness or death of a loved one.
It is natural in these times to want to head for the hills. This feeling is even more understandable when we are parents of small children for our instinct is to protect, to lay down our lives for theirs. When this feeling overtakes us, it actually is just the opposite reaction that can allow us, and our children, to live vibrant, beautiful, meaningful lives, despite all that seemingly detracts from that possibility.
How is that possible???!!!!
Whether we are strong in our faith, daily steeped in it, not too sure there is a God, or somewhere in between with a feeling He’s there, just not real active in our lives at the moment, when tragedy strikes, our first reaction typically is to feel it personally. Whether we’re watching the Jan. 6 hearings, processing the death of a loved one, marching in a protest for or against, or quietly mulling over our feelings and thoughts, we start with ourselves and our personal reactions. Our internal wiring which has been shaped by nature and nurture then influences our perspective which we will carry into the next steps of our processing journey.
If the information we are processing is not too hard to handle, which may be 90% of most days, or at least used to be (!) we feel pretty okay, that is unless we have some underlying emotions at work such as anxiety or depression which will color our world view. That aside for the moment, when life is as it’s been for us during these last several years, both societally and in many cases personally, where to go next in our thought processes after a troubling event can be difficult. Given the complexity of life in these days, unless we make a deliberate choice to look outside of ourselves for help, we often may not have the best responses. Confusion often leads to regrettable choices and emotional despair.
In these times in particular, I personally don’t think we can live well without relying on family, friends, community, and faith. In importance these would be in the reverse order with faith first. Yet given our human nature we often need the steps to get there of turning to family, friends, and community to support us first so that we can be reminded of our faith in God. The bottom line is we are living in times that I truly feel make it impossible to live well by trying to do it on our own. We just can’t as little individual units live without fear by relying on our own individual efforts. We need each other more than ever. No man is an island is the deepest wisdom. No single individuals or nuclear family units can live well without the love and support of others. We just can’t and we are deceiving ourselves to think otherwise.
Perhaps these incredibly difficult times are here for that very reason – as a reminder that through the support of family, friends, and community, when we are weak, we will be reminded through the strength, counsel, and love given to us from others, that God is here with us. We need faith in God more than ever! Even if we can’t see Him at that moment, even if we can’t feel His Love, those around us who support us are there to carry us through those moments, each for the other at the appropriate times as needed. When one is weak, another is strong, one to the other, for each other. What an incredible blessing to allow these precious others into our lives as often and in the deepest ways possible, these “angels” HaShem has sent us to help in just these trying times.
Yeshua bled like us, and died like us, knowing every aspect intimately of the pain we feel in life. Through Him, as ministered to us through those who love us, we feel God’s Presence in our lives, even in the most painful moments that we can’t bear alone. We each can feel each other’s pain through Him. We each can feel each other’s love through Him. When supported in community through regular worship and Scripture reading, we are given the amazing ability to feel comfort and joy despite what may be happening societally and personally at the moment.
We take strength in our feelings of smallness and weakness for we allow ourselves to feel the love and strength of others. We are able to lay down our burden. We understand we were not designed nor expected to carry such weight. Through the love showered on us, we can feel our Abba’s protection, hear His divine messages through the timeless words of Scripture that have brought amazing grace and wisdom to our ancestors and to us over millennia. Without family, friends, and community we would not be able to experience any of those thoughts and feelings when life has beaten us down through personal tragedies on top of the chaos around us. He has made available this divine design to us. What a blessing!
Now more than ever I encourage you to surround yourselves with family, friends, and community, for when you do, you will feel His Love. When that happens, as incomprehensible as it seems, you will know that all will be alright. You are not in this alone. You do not need to control, for He has your back. You will let go, let God. As you learn to live life in this way, you, too, will be able to be there for others in need as the circle of love grows and is complete, emanating from His divine love of us.
What a blessing!
P.S. In a couple days Sid and I will head to Camp Or L’Dor, our Messianic Jewish teen camp first birthed 14 summers ago by Sid and Rabbi Nathan. Please pray that this will be another year of transformations for all those blessed to be part of this experience, and especially that our teens will feel His Presence mightily, and personally.