Thursday, July 24, 2014

When We Push Back the Darkness

This is a post about Kingdom Theology. But it’s not.

Today the now and the not yet slam against each other with violent force, leaving aftershocks that shake me throughout each day. Just when I find that moment of peace, I feel a rumble. It’s like the whole earth is groaning.

Today I sat in the front row of a beautiful old church, holding my youngest in my lap, her head resting in the crook of my neck, listening to kids sing about God’s love and following after Him. Faces beaming they epitomized joy. This temporarily removed the thoughts about another plane that went missing this morning and the fact that my husband will fly across the ocean this fall and that planes seem to be dropping out of the sky with regularity.

Yesterday we went to our neighborhood farmers’ market and found some beautiful peaches and golden plums to take home. My oldest added up the cost of the produce and proudly made the transaction. We then held hands as we walked down the street and found our way to our favorite Indian restaurant. 13 miles away, on the other end of our city, a family is still mourning after their daughter was killed in their home. She was microwaving marshmallows with her friends to make s’mores at their slumber party. In too many areas of Chicago it isn't safe to go outside, so they stayed in their apartment, yet a bullet found its way through a cracked open window and a wall before lodging itself in the little girl, killing her.

The sun is shining, the wind is blowing, and summer feels perfect. I watch my kids play in the park with their friends. Their shrieks of laughter blend with the sound of the birds singing. Their feet pounding on the pavement as they run mark a rhythm and everything feels like music. Half a world away, 121 Palestinian children have died in thepast two weeks, with another 1,100 injured. My city of Chicago has seen 218homicides this year; 34 have been children under the age of 18.

I don’t know how to hold it all in anymore. I can’t even list the wars, the children fleeing danger, the hate, the murders, the drive-by shooting/hit a mile from my house, and the racism that I see seeping through everything. I vacillate between mourning and anger.

I have meditated on Psalm 103 the past two days.

The Lord gives righteousness

   and justice to all who are treated unfairly.

I don’t see it, but I need to believe it. And I ask God where it is…..where the righteousness and justice are. He doesn't answer me. I hear nothing other than the question, “What are your hands doing?”

What are my hands doing?

Today my hands type this lament, in hopes that somehow it helps push the darkness back. In hopes that it is part of making a way for the not yet. 

Today my hands tear sack cloth and pour ash on my head because I need to mourn. 

And today my hands will rock my babies, brush their hair, hold their hands, and wipe away their tears. 

Today my hands will turn palms up to the heavens and wait. Because they need to do something. 

They need to help push back the darkness.

I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.

Isaiah 42:16

Kyrie eleison, Lord have mercy.


  1. thank you for your heart and your honesty. it's hard to lean in to believing when all around is falling away. God have mercy on us all.

  2. powerful words!

  3. Oh, amen to all this. There are too many bad things in the world- but I believe someday God will make it all good again. I wish I knew why he isn't doing that faster.

  4. speechless - moved - praying

  5. Yes to all of this. We cannot hold all this grief & mourning. He can. I have to believe in his goodness & quench for justice for the righteous to keep living in the here but not yet. Love & peace to you dear friend!


  6. Oh, amen. Beautiful lament, dear Brenna. Thank you.

  7. Thank you. All so true. Joining you in the lamenting, and in hoping for what I don't see.

  8. I never got a chance to comment about how I loved this post. So glad you linked, and so glad you took it where you did. How we read the Psalms is so dependent on what is going on in the world and in our lives. There are laments that have felt out of place and frustrating to me because I was in a place of joy and gratitude. Then there are praise psalms that have been annoying because I was in a place of lament and anger, and they sounded like platitudes. It leaves me wondering as someone who works with a church how we broaden our language enough to give a place for anyone, anyone, to enter in.

    I'm glad you found a way to enter into a praise psalm with your lamenting. I think that honors the heart of the Psalms so very well.

  9. Hello from the suburbs. I found my way here from Unforced Rhythms linkup/Amber who listed you in her ""kindred spirits and I couldn't help but be drawn to the ChicagoMama, since I am from Des Plaines and have wondered if i'd ever find a Chicago blogger and there you were. I spent some time here on your blog and appreciated what you have written here. I'm from the other end of parenting - my kids are grown and i have 9 loving from a different perspective. .

  10. I just received this in my feed and felt compelled to let you know - you are not alone. I've been feeling the same way; I feel the rumble beneath the stillness, and a storm brewing. It is, indeed, strange to live our lives within this world of turmoil. I've also read hope in Isaiah and in the psalms... Today I join you in raising my palms...

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