This is the darkest time in U.S. politics I’ve yet lived through. What do I do in response?
I’ve tried different things. I’ve gotten angry. I’ve gotten depressed. I’ve cussed a lot.
I tried to ignore what’s going on. I’ve immersed myself in the news. I’ve read the news from varying political positions. I’ve read international news on what’s happening here.
The last three days, I got to help some friends move by driving from Burbank, CA back to Wenatchee, WA. In doing so, I got to spend a ton of time with one of the best people I know. I’m not saying he’s one of the best people in the whole world, just one of the best people I know personally. He and my friends who were moving (his son and daughter-in-law) thanked me profusely and repeatedly, as well as feeding me well and putting me up in luxury accommodations. Don’t tell them, but I might have paid for two days of getting to hang out with this guy.*
As you might imagine, we talked about everything under the sun, though primarily sports and following Jesus. Not in that order.
We talked a lot about the grace series I just completed and our discussion drove home this one fact: now is the time to share more light.
The news is horrible and gets worse every day. Ignoring it feels unfaithful and following it depresses me.** I’ve given serious consideration to developing a new addiction. “Ooh, Mike, that’s dark humor and insensitive to those who deal with addictions.” Yeah, it would be if I were kidding. I decided I have enough challenges without that.
But what people need, always and especially now, is hope. Encouragement. Kindness. Reminders that they are loved.
You are loved.
Right now, in this moment, reading this blog post, you are loved. I don’t just believe that, I know that, with absolute certainty. Not that you will be loved when you make yourself lovable, stop doing the bad things you’ve been doing, or finally start doing the right things. Not when you have the correct views on politics or an accurate understanding of the world. Not when you get people to treat you better or more respectfully or as you deserve. You are loved right now.
YOU. Are loved. Right freaking NOW.
That’s the light.
How can I convince you of that? I can’t. I don’t have that power.
But I’ve realized I plan to do this with my one wild and precious life:
God, Jesus who is Christ, the Great and Holy Spirit that flows through all things, loves you more than you will ever know and more, perhaps, than you will grasp in an eternity with God.
For those keeping score, that’s one God, not three (Trinity and all that jazz) who does not have conflicting views on you. God isn’t angry with you and taking it out on Jesus while the Spirit tries to win Him over. God isn’t biologically male, either, though Jesus was as a human and God incarnate. But that’s just my best understanding and if that throws you off or pisses you off, don’t let it sidetrack you. The point is, God loves you. You don’t need a perfect understanding of who or how or why; you need to know it’s true. You need to know it’s real. Being loved and knowing you are loved changes us. Maybe not instantly–though sometimes it does–but inexorably, i.e. “in a way that is impossible to stop or prevent.”
That’s pretty cool.
Believe me, I have “Yabuts” about God’s love, too. Again, I can’t convince you. What I can tell you is this: in my fifty years of life it’s the one constant I’ve known. God redeems. God heals. God loves.
You know why that guy is one of the best people I know? He’s been hanging out with God for sixty-some years. He told me he’s never felt closer to God or been more excited about God than he does and is right now. He started out with a theology that did not focus on God’s love. At all. It gave him guilt and shame. Lots of rules. Plus, a clear message that anyone who didn’t believe right, meaning exactly like his church did, would burn in hell for eternity.
But God’s love? Inexorable.
This many years of hanging out with God and he exudes God’s love. Even when he’s making fun of me (not so hard to do), I feel loved. How would you not want to spend time with a guy like that?
Cuz you know what that really means? I spent 1200 miles being reminded that God loves me. Talking baseball and theology and singing along to Bob Seger and Bad Company and The Doobies and, underlying it all, that constant reminder. God does love me. It was a great way for me to spend three days.
I wish the same for you. Maybe not sitting in a car for twenty-one hours over two days, but to that same depth.
This doesn’t magically solve the feces storm we’re in right now. I’m not claiming it does. It doesn’t instantly heal depression or take away our responsibility to fight injustice happening all around us. For that last one, quite the opposite.
But this is the light we need to remember so we can keep going through this darkness. It’s the light that reminds us the whole world isn’t darkness. In fact, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5)
There are people given over to evil doing evil things and many other people whom I believe have good hearts who are going along with it. I can’t explain this and it grieves me to my solar plexus. Discourages the hell out of me. Makes me want to scream. Tempts me to give up on humanity.
But the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not and will not and cannot overcome it.
God’s love shines through this evil. God’s love shines through my darkness. God, astoundingly, loves those people given over to doing evil. God loves those people who are going along with it.
Most astoundingly to me, God loves me.***
Therefore, now is the time to shine.
The next series will be on God’s love for us and how that love changes us.
*Certainly don’t tell him that, or he’ll start charging me to hang out.
**That’s for me. You decide the faithful balance for you.
***I’m not being facetious. I know me better than I know them and I know more clearly what is (to me) unlovable in me.