On Sunday morning I was running late. I woke up a bit fuzzy with a dull headache and churning stomach. It could be that the outpouring of tears from the previous evening had caused this throbbing. Or perhaps it was the combination of pizza and barbeque from the dual parties preceding the tears. In any event, I arrived at church a bit pieced together. It turns out that this was representative of the rest of our congregation.
Service began as usual, with the welcome of handshakes and hugs as well as songs to lift up in worship. I sang through my receding aches, surrounded by youth and young adults. As Larry, founder of the Hoover Walk, took the mic to share about the results of this year’s walk for World Hope, I felt a shift in the air. Today would be different. Today we were on the brink of recognizing a need….and sharing it on our knees and in our speech.
Larry’s speech was purcilating with praise and humble gratitude. It is no question that the Holy Spirit was guiding us towards a moment of corporate awe. Soon after, a young adult took the mic. It had been some time since this man had shared in worship, which he acknowledged openly. What proceeded was a very genuine admission of anguish from sin. “Confessions”, he titled his poetry. We didn’t obtain dirty details, but it was obvious he was offering apology with traces of God’s grace.
As he stepped down, my heart began crying out, “please someone go to him. God, send a man to surround him!” In that very thought, a man stopped him in the middle of the aisle and embraced him, tears streaming down his face. A line from a Watermark song entered my head “Lord, send us rushing.” Before my pastor could finish his caring statement from the pulpit, my sister-in-law stood up. She shared how she had been praying for our church to be shaken up so that we could realize our need….and how, indeed, we have been. People stood up sporadically, giving testimonies and presenting heartaches. Some stood up and admitted desire to be changed and awaken from “sleep.”
The night prior to this event, I shared with a fellow young adult woman about my own brokenness. I was sideblinded at a party of primarily couples. Most of them I didn’t know, so my single self stood out like an ostrich among cattle. Or maybe a peacock among cattle…I was wearing some pretty bright colors. Something as simple as this caused me to spill years of pain and past offenses. I shared with her years of jumping between silent confusion and impulsive pacification. It seems that I have been awakening this last month from a sleeping giant. There is something unresolved in my life that I have handled so poorly in the past. I held it inside for so long, thinking it was too painful to share, that when I attempted to express it with people for the first time, I exploded with angry aversion. I jumped straight from offense to anger without passing hurt.
I have been experiencing the echoes of hurt for the last year. I’m not angry about it anymore. I just realize now how much this unresolved issue has mutilated my spirit and given misconception to the communities in which I have lived.
Isn’t that sometimes how brokenness occurs? We pack away pain, which may leak out in forms of rebellion or addiction, until we can run no longer. Enraged at how we’ve handled it, we jump over grieving and attack those who have ignored or caused the pain. Something shakes us out of our stupor and reveals how broken we really are inside.
I would be ashamed to admit how many people I have offended in my attempts to avoid admission of hurt. However, I know that I have. I am pretty certain we all have.
I would venture to say that somewhere in our young lives, we all experience a heart-shattering moment. Disappointment does not sit well unless it is replaced with an appointment. Even though this is going to sound extremely cheesy, I’m gonna share it. I have heard it said before that our disappointments are God’s appointments. Whether brought to Him in the instant of heartbreak or years later after bitter resignation…
God is a mender of brokenness. Sacrificing His Son, Jesus Christ, was the very expression of mending. This is ultimate reconciliation! If He can mend such a great rift between us and Him, I am certain He is able to mend the rifts we have built between us. It starts with recognizing our hurt and our need. And that is exactly what occured Sunday morning. Our church was shaken, and with our mending will come an outpouring of genuine testimony and evangelism. I’m so excited. God is AWESOME!