Rain. Fire. Wind. Man.
These are the forces we face this week. Fathers and mothers carry children on their backs to rafts, to float away from homes filled with water and sludge. Young hikers stand trapped on a mountain with fire on all sides as a message comes in: You must stay until morning. A family nails boards over windows and doors, working as the raindrops start coming and the wind begins its howl. And a student sinks to the floor in tears as a man on television says she cannot stay in her country called home.
This was our week. It was also our month and our summer and our year, as forces beyond the control of any one person seemed to grow more powerful.
So individuals gathered together. They marched in the streets and stood in the middle of highways to be seen and heard in protest. They donated to newspapers, churches, and doctors to help those unseen and unheard. They shouted in all caps through cyberspace YOU ARE NOT ALONE to victims of political abuse.
These gathered voices offer comfort. And yet, there remains pain and forces greater than even a community can overcome.
So what is to be done? Are we to abandon all hope ye who enter this day?
In a word: yes.
The world is bigger and better and badder and bolder than any one person or any group, no matter its size. We do not stand a chance. At least, not alone.
And it is in that darkness that we find the hope. We are not alone. We do not have to be big, best, baddest, or boldest to be victorious. Because we are loved.
That is my comfort this night as my heart breaks for those who have lost a home, be it house or country. He loves me in my brokenness. It makes absolutely no sense, and yet somehow is truth. And his heart breaks with every father, mother, child, and unseen tear this night and every night.
The love that Moses shared with Israel before they entered the Promised Land is the same love that is shared with us. It whispers to not be afraid while embracing our tear-streaked faces.
God wasn’t attracted to you and didn’t choose you because you were big and important – the fact is, there was almost nothing to you. He did it out of sheer love, keeping the promise he made to your ancestors. God stepped in and mightily bought you back out of that world of slavery, freed you from the iron grip of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know this: God, your God, is God indeed, a God you can depend upon. He keeps his covenant of loyal love with those who love him and observe his commandments for a thousand generations. But he also pays back those who hate him, pays them the wages of death; he isn’t slow to pay them off – those who hate him, he pays right on time. So keep the command and the rules and regulations that I command you today. Do them. And this is what will happen: When you, on your part, will obey these directives, keeping and following them, God, on his part, will keep the covenant of loyal love that he made with your ancestors: He will love you, he will bless you, he will increase you. You’ll be blessed beyond all other peoples: no sterility or barrenness in you or your animals. God will get rid of all sickness. And all the evil afflictions you experienced in Egypt he’ll put not on you but on those who hate you. You’ll make mincemeat of all the peoples that God, your God, hands over to you. Don’t feel sorry for them. And don’t worship their gods – they’ll trap you for sure. You’re going to think to yourselves, “Oh! We’re outnumbered ten to one by these nations! We’ll never even make a dent in them!” But I’m telling you, Don’t be afraid. Remember, yes, remember in detail what God, your God, did to Pharaoh and all Egypt. Remember the great contests to which you were eyewitnesses: the miracle-signs, the wonders, God’s mighty hand as he stretched out his arm and took you out of there. God, your God, is going to do the same thing to these people you’re now so afraid of. (Deuteronomy 7:7-19)