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Devotion: Naming What Is

Do you ever have one of those weeks when your heart breaks over and over again? Over the last 7 days this has happened more than once for me. I have found myself in situations where I sit in the holy discontent of the world and say, “this is just not right!”

Last Thursday, another staff member and I toured the Orlando Rescue Mission, which has been serving homeless and vulnerable families since 1948. I started to cry when I learned that once a month, the children who have had birthdays that month get a group birthday party and get to share a cake that has their name on it and for maybe the first time in their lives, they see their name on the top of a cake. Then I went to Warren Willis Camp over the weekend and remembered with joy how many youth find their faith story here. And while it didn’t break my heart in the same way, my heart ached for the youth that have not yet experienced the power and presence of Jesus in their own lives and are left trying to piece together an empty and unfulfilling identity that the world tells them they are. And then I finished my week sitting on the Board of Directors meeting at the Florida United Methodist Children’s Home and listening to stories of abandoned, trafficked and abused children and how the Home has transformed their lives and given them a new family.

All of this to say, it has been a heavy week. Maybe you can relate.

While I am blessed to be a part of the faith journey in the lives of this church, I also carry the burden of the hurt I hear and the brokenness I see. This is part of my call. And as I was processing this with my Spiritual Director on Monday morning, she helped change my perspective and shone light in a place I hadn’t seen before. It could be, that the things that break our heart about the injustices of the world, the things that keep us up at night, the lumps in our throats, are actually Holy Spirit moments that are spurring us into action. Maybe the things that feel burdensome are actually gifts in disguise that help us figure out what we were uniquely made to transform or make whole.

It could be, that the Scripture from James 2 that we studied on Sunday is really about holy discontent.

The Message version of James 2:14 says,

Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it?”

I read that in light of the week I have just had, as an validation to sit in the sadness of the brokenness, but not an excuse to wallow. I read this modern version of the text to say, whatever it is that breaks your heart, God is giving you a task to fix, or an injustice to make right, or a brokenness to heal.And so I invite you to consider your own holy discontent and how your own heart breaks. Maybe the Holy Spirit is whispering to you about the gifts you have to help address that particular issue. It could be that God made you for such a time as this.

I close with Richard Rohr’s words from his devotion in Center for Action and Contemplation that says this:

Religion is no longer a spectator sport, an observing of some distant, far-off truth, but it’s an observing of what is true in me, and what is true in me is true of the cosmos. It’s all one reality. Frankly this makes the job of evangelization—if we want to use that Christian word—much easier because we’re not bringing in an extraneous message. We’re simply naming what is.”

And so church, let’s name what is; the hurt, the sin, the brokenness and put our broke hearts into action together.