There are many things that I struggle with – questions I ask often.
All of the things I struggle with end up dealing with the ultimate question of am I doing the right thing. Am I offering the right advice? And the answer is – maybe, I hope so.
Being a pastor doesn’t mean I have all the answers, or many times, any of the answers. It means I sit with people where they are, in their situations that have no black and white easy answers. I sit with them in their gray situations and let them know that they are not alone and that God loves them. What else am I to do?
Having the answers often doesn’t even matter really. That’s not what most people are really seeking. They want to know that they are not alone in the world. The answers will come, or they won’t. But facing the world alone – that’s a scary prospect. Being alone – that’s terrifying for most people.
I struggle with the question of evil in the world – as many have before me and many will after me. How do you respond to evil? Do you fight evil and destroy it? Or by doing so, do you yourself become evil? Does the method determine the outcome?
I struggle with some of the things Jesus taught. There are things that I just want to scream about and some people who I would love to see punished for their actions and attitudes. Yet, that is not what Jesus taught. And if I am going to claim to be a follower of Jesus – well, then that means I have to give up those desires. To forge a different path – one in which I take up my cross and follow Jesus. And often this sucks.
I struggle with not being able to unsee the things I have seen and unhear the things I have heard. Once you see them and hear them, there is no turning back. There’s no going back to the way it was before. And they break your heart – over and over again.
Things like homelessness – homeless men and women and families, who live in their vehicles in a parking lot. Things like human trafficking and prostitution. Things like drug trade. Things like dehumanizing rhetoric and talk – certainly from politicians, but more disheartening is from “average” people you see on the streets. Things like domestic violence.
I struggle with how cruel humanity is and has been to itself for so many centuries. So cruel. And for what? What purpose? The cruelty makes no sense – yet it persists.
I struggle with people living in anger and fear. I struggle with people wanting to have all the answers – especially where answers are vacant. I struggle with people believing being right is the most important thing in the world. I struggle with loyalties to things that will not last.
I struggle with people not being open to conversation or challenging beliefs to discover the truth.
I struggle with people choosing comfort and convenience over following Jesus.
There are many things I struggle with. I ask God about these things every day. Why, Oh Lord, does this persist? How long Oh Lord will you allow this to go on?
But, regardless of the struggle and how long it grips me, I know I am not alone – Jesus walks with me. Jesus walks with me in the uncertainly and struggles of life. I know this because there is no way I could do this alone. It would be overwhelming. It would be too much.
I struggle, but Jesus is there. He struggles right along side. Actually, he’s been struggling for so very long. I’m new at this in comparison. It’s not even close actually. The weight of the world isn’t on my shoulders – it’s on his. I’m responsible for adding some extra weight onto his shoulders too.
And so as I struggle, I pray. I pray that the struggle will be worth it. That no one will be alone. That I can be an instrument of God’s mercy and grace. I struggle. But I am not alone. And neither are you.