My ankle has been giving me a bit of trouble these last few days. It is a bit stiff, swollen and sore. With the gorgeous weather, all I want to do is be outside running, biking, hiking and being as active as I can. There is nothing I would like more than to ignore the pain in my ankle and just plow forward doing all I want. But I know, that would lead to more hurt in the long run and so I find myself having to re-center myself in what is and not go rushing off into what I wish would be.
Now I do not want to trivialize all that is going on in the world by comparing it to a sore ankle, for the wounds of the world are on a scale so very much vaster than the little scar that I bear. The pain and hurt of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinianes; the downed Malaysian airplane, of the children at our border, of the edict of ISIS on the bodies of women and girls in Iraq, all of this violence and hurt is so deeply wounding and scaring. The pain of it can take our breath away and leave us wanting to perhaps escape into the world we wish would be instead of fully dwelling in the world that is.
But we know that that too would lead to more hurt in the long run. Being present to places of pain is very much a part of our walk of faith. You know the stories. You know how oftentimes it is in the places of brokenness and pain that God’s love and care is revealed most clearly. Somehow we can slide into thinking that the presence of suffering means the absence of God. But that is not true. I believe God is in there in the rubble, with tears charting paths down her dirt covered face. I believe God is there picking up the pieces, holding those who grieve, healing those who are wounded, speaking words of hope to those who dwell in deep darkness, and crying out in the name of love calling us into ministries of grace.
With the pain in my ankle these days, I find myself having to slow down, pay more attention to where I am going, and reach out for support in ways I usually would not if I were steadier on my feet. Perhaps there is some learning there to share. Perhaps given the pain of this time we are in we too are to slow down a bit more and pay more attention to where we are going, what we are doing and how that is impacting those around us. Perhaps we too are to reach out for support and to support each other in ways we may not necessarily normally do. It is easy to look at all the pain in the world and wonder where in the world is God. But sometimes I wonder, if God does not look out from the places of pain in the world and wonder, where in the world are we.