If you are reading these words, it means you spend at least some of your time online. And if you are anything like me, the immediacy and gravity of our access to what’s happening in the world can be dizzying and heartbreaking.
Just today, as I’m writing this, I see in the news that one country bombed another, and then other countries took sides, and leaders puffed out their chests promising swift resolve. Yesterday, I learned that two African American men were arrested for sitting in a Starbucks without making a purchase. They were waiting on a third person to have a business meeting in that “third space.” The day before that, I read about a cancer diagnosis, a pastor falling from grace, and a lawsuit between a politician and an adult film star.
We live in a unique time in history, where information is free, global, and immediate. But how much tragedy and brokenness can a person absorb before he either breaks or goes numb? Were we designed to know as much as we do about what is happening all over the world? I know I often reach a point where my own heart feels the burdens of this world in a way that becomes a simple prayer: “Lord, come back soon.”
In today’s psalm, David prays from a posture of being overwhelmed by what is happening in the world around him, and how it is taking command of what is happening inside him. He is tired. The world is filled with injustice. The wicked seem to prosper. His own friends are betraying him. What is his prayer? Not to oversimplify, but if I were to boil it down, this prayer would be something on the order of, “Lord, make it stop.”
The hope of the gospel is that one day, all sickness, sorrow, injustice, war, famine, racial tension, infidelity, greed, betrayal, and political corruption will end. But until it does, until Jesus returns, He reminds us that in this life there will always be poverty and trouble (Mark 14:7; John 16:33).
So what do we do while we wait for the end of all injustice and poverty? We make it part of the cry of the soul. Praying for justice to prevail over evil, as David models for us, is an important part of actually doing something with our lives to push back against the darkness. This discipline in prayer lifts our gaze from ourselves and makes us look beyond ourselves to the world we inhabit. It draws from us a new prayer: “Lord, work through me.”
Lord, come back soon. Lord, make it stop. Lord, work through me. Amen.
Written by Russ Ramsey