When You Can’t Fix It
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)
Shortly after re-committing my life to Christ when I was in graduate school for criminal justice, I attended a young adult and youth Sunday School class that my Aunt Jeannie was teaching. She talked about brokenness and hurt that we experience in life and the many ways that we try unsuccessfully to heal our pain or at least cover it up. Whether we regret the harm that comes because of our own decisions or actions, or we are injured and stung by the words or actions of others, pain comes to us in this life. Relationship breakups, job loss, disappointments, the illness or death of a loved one all bring what we experience as unbearable pain, grief, anger, and sadness. Life brings pain, hurt, anguish, difficulty, it is unavoidable.
It was the use of a childhood nursery rhyme that made Aunt Jeannie’s class easy to remember a few decades later. She read the familiar rhyme adding her own ending: “Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again… but the King can.” As she finished the sentence tears began flowing uncontrollably down my face as I realized that there was no way I could undo things I had done or unlive past trauma in my life. I could not fix or heal myself or my brokenness. I could not get back relationships lost, bring back loved ones who died or take old opportunities which I had rejected. What am I to do with such a reality? I had already spent college years trying to “party out the pain” which only created more pain. I had come to Christ again ready to reboot my life, yet some things could not be fixed by me, or anyone so I thought. What was I to do? I discovered that I could lay my burdens and brokenness on the One who can give rest.
I heard the invitation from Jesus to come to him in my weariness and brokenness and to share in trust with the community of faith. In preparation for his own death Jesus said to his disciples and to us, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” In Matthew 6 Jesus invites us to seek first God’s Kingdom and to not worry. In the Gospel of John, Jesus is depicted as the Good Shepherd which reminds us of Psalm 23 and the promise that “even though you walk through the valley of the shadow of death… I am with you.” In these passages of Scripture and many others we can hear the steady promise that we are not alone in our brokenness, hurt or grief. There is not a promise to fix or undo something in our past or bring back people or situations dear to us. But there is the promise of presence; and there is healing in that strong yet gentle presence of God as we walk through the valleys of disappointment and tragedy that come our way.
We live in a broken and hurting world. Yet God is with us and we are not alone. The gathered community of the Church of Jesus Christ can be an instrument of healing and grace as we walk this journey of life. We may not be able to stop the tragedy or fix a situation, but as God walks with us, we can be present with one another in times of trouble.
Merciful God, it’s not easy here in this world. The joy of living can turn to sorrow in an instant. The hurts and regrets of the past can haunt our future. Help us to bring our burdens to you. Please Lord, give us rest. Amen.