What Do You Do with Despair?

I've been pondering what to say about the horribleness of what has happened in Charlottesville. I've been wondering about the potential nuclear threat of North Korea. And two more soldiers died in Iraq, the paper said.

"How long, O Lord?" I keep asking. How much longer do we have to deal with the injustice? With the hate? With the fear? With the arguing? The superiority complexes? How long are we going to live under divisiveness and when will the oppressed find freedom? I've caught myself often this summer asking Jesus if He could just come now and the only reason I find myself lamenting that He hasn't is because I know there are people who haven't gotten to know Him yet.

I've been reading through the Gospel of Mark. In chapter 9, I found that Jesus asked a question similar to my own . He's talking to the crowd gathered around Him, not to God, but He said, "Oh faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you?"

Here we see Jesus' humanity. He saw the situation before Him - the arguing, the division, the failure, the pain, the hopelessness - it was all daunting and overwhelming in that moment, even when He ultimately knew how the whole story ends. His calling had just been confirmed again on the mountain—He was bringing redemption to all of this before Him.

But what a mess. What a mess then. What a mess now.

We can relate to this sense of desperation, can't we? Some of us despair what's happening in the world, in our homes, in our marriages, maybe in our children.

I take comfort in the fact that that Jesus expressed it, that He gives us permission to express those same feelings, too.

Despair is an emotion. Like any emotion, it's neither good nor bad. It just is. But what's unhelpful is getting lost in it.

But Jesus didn't get lost. He just did the next right thing. 

He brought healing to the brokenness in front of Him, delivering a boy from his epilepsy and a father from his unbelief.

We, too, must bring healing to the brokenness of this world, wherever and whatever it is. We, too, must do the next right thing - walking in love, in hope, in faith, in healing. We have to keep living in the light that Jesus brings and spreading it to every corner of the earth that we can. And in these steps, big and small, we will eradicate the darkness. One step at a time.

What's your next right thing that you will do today?

(This post was originally on Facebook, but I've expanded it a bit here,)