This week’s Orlando headlines have really been weighing on me. I went for a run and a few minutes in I was surprised to find myself on the verge of tears. It really came out of nowhere. I had to stop running, turn off my music, and take a few moments to let myself grieve.
I couldn’t finish my run after that, so instead I just walked the rest of the way, praying continually…and still surprised by my own emotions. “Where is this coming from?” I kept thinking, and then the Hillsong lyric “break my heart for what breaks yours” popped into my head and I haven’t been able to get those words out of my head since.
It continues to come in waves. I’ll be pulling weeds in our yard, or eating dinner, and the anger, disbelief, and sorrow resurface. I was reminded of a Philippians study we did in our small group (and my favorite verse) “Rejoice in the Lord, always!” I remember Matt Chandler describing the time his son had a serious seizure. Driving behind the ambulance, not able to ride with his son… he described how he was able to push past the anxiety and fear. He ‘rejoiced in the Lord’ by visualizing God in the ambulance with his son, comforting, and taking care of him. It was a great reminder…rejoicing doesn’t have to mean faking a smile in the midst of tragedy.
That anecdote resonated with me then, and especially now. I’m visualizing God in the home of the mother who just lost her son, sitting on the couch with His arm around her as she mourns. Visualizing God guiding the hands of the doctors stitching bullet wounds, and giving them the energy and focus to perform surgeries.
My heart breaks. I’m on the verge of tears, again, as I write this. A few years ago I would’ve read the Orlando headlines and probably would’ve reacted in fear, vowing never to go to Orlando, or a bar again. That’s the thing about faith that I’m realizing more each day; fear, stress, worry, and anxiety do not hang over me like they used to. I’ll admit to still holding on to them at times, but if I’m really rejoicing in the Lord, always then it’s easier to remember that I don’t have to.