It is summertime! In fact, we are almost smack dab in the middle of what I consider summer.
When I think of summer I think of pool parties, cold watermelon slices, fresh squeezed lemonade and barbeque dinners - fun times with family, neighbors and friends.
I desire those experiences that remind me of summer days from the past, but nowadays, I strain to find them. I long for time outside breathing the fresh air, feeling the warm sunshine on my skin, everything moving at a slower pace - a time of recovery and refreshment. I hear the invitation from Psalm 23 and think, "Yes, God, lead me to the green pastures."
But it escapes me.
I look outside and, yes, I see the sunshine and all the other signs of summer, but there is no rest or relaxation for me.
This is a false sense of summer.
It's like a sun-drenched covering shielding another reality.
You see, underneath the façade I feel absolute chaos, darkness swirling around, people suffering, pain and destruction. It's like a battle is being waged all around me and people are hurting - and not just mere I-scraped-my-knee kind of hurting. No! There are people close to me suffering near fatal blows taking them down this summer. Death is in the air. It is overwhelming and I cannot catch a break.
It is unrelenting.
The evil is visceral. It is everywhere around me. Like seeing the sun's shining rays but realizing I'm not fully "in" this summer, this battle around me is waging on fiercely but I realize I'm not really "in" it either.
Should I be?
I feel like I have a choice, a decision to make: Do I engage? Do I dare step in the direction of the fight?
Or do I turn away? Do I turn and focus on the sunshine, seeking rest in a false sense of serenity that is shielding the truth of what lies underneath?
It is a pivotal time. There is a weightiness involved, a heaviness hanging in the balance.
I am not prepared; but, I am not without hope. I have picked up important tools along the way...and good friends.
My experience through The Leadership Institute has given me confidence to tackle these questions. In recent morning quiet times I have rediscovered truths to help anchor me, especially from Psalm 27:14:
Wait for the Lord;
Be strong, and let your heart take courage:
Yes, wait for the Lord. [NAS]
I am reminded of what Jesus often did, and what I have been trained to do: Go spend time with the Father. Get away from the noise, find a quiet place of solitude, and just be with Him.
I will do it today and see what happens. I'll let you know later.