In the millennials network of Cru, we talk often about three words: thriving, unleashing, and flourishing. These words summarize what we want as Millenials in NYC — we want to thrive and grow in our relationships with Jesus, ourselves, and others; we want to be unleashed, through the Spirit, into all God has called us to be; and we want to seek the flourishing of the people and world around us as we see God restoring all people and all things to Himself.
But right now the flourishing of all things — God’s kingdom coming on earth as it is in heaven — feels miles and miles away . . .
How can we hold onto such a hope and keep our hearts soft enough to maintain this hope, when the world outside of us and inside of us is falling apart?
How can we believe in an eternal kingdom that is filled with joy and peace when family members are dying, marriages are falling apart, friends are battling depression and addiction, bombs are being planted in trash cans in Chelsea, children are fleeing war-torn countries, whole communities are being wiped out in floods, black men are being shot in our streets, prisoners are going on week long hunger strikes, and political systems are unraveling
Our culture often tells us to numb out, become self-focused, or flee to pleasure when we feel sad or overwhelmed. We self-medicate because we don’t know how to engage with pain and still have hope. Or we deny — we deny the pain in our heart and in others’ hearts because acknowledging sadness and brokenness feels overwhelming or frightening.
And yet, when we look at the life of Jesus, we find a man, a God, who can press into pain and still have hope. One who can weep deeply and lament deeply, and yet still whole-heartedly trust the Father as He walks straight towards His death. Our God does not deny the pain of this world nor has He chosen to wipe us all out and start over, instead He has stepped into our brokenness and pain. He has fully engaged the sorrow of the human heart.
Jesus teaches us that “blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4). And Paul instructs us to “rejoice with those who are rejoice and to weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15).
In these two verses, we find the first step in bringing flourishing in the midst of brokenness. Like the prophets of old, and like Jesus himself, we are called to Biblical lament. We are called to weep deeply for the brokenness of our world, we are called to repent fully for the sin in our life which has led us to reject God and trample on others, and we are called to intercede before God for our nation and our world. Flourishing always begins in tears on our knees.
The good news of the gospel is that we have a God who is not unfamiliar with our plight and pain, but one who left heaven to bleed and cry and die alongside us so that He might knit back together the fragmented and fractured parts of our world. We weep with Him now, because one day, we will also rejoice with Him.
For additional reading, check out this book: https://www.amazon.com/Prophetic-Lament-Justice-Troubled-Times/dp/0830836942