For You in the Trenches

by Marilyn on November 16, 2015

prayer

All weekend I have thought about what to write this morning. I think about world events and how they have filled up our newsfeeds, yet I also know that you live in your own world events. You live in places where bombs go off, where corruption runs rampant, where trash builds up because of anger at governments, where babies die too soon and young women and men lose their innocence to the evil of others.

So what do I say to you who live in the trenches; you who sigh as you hear the news, because you know how awful it is, you know how broken it is. You don’t need a bomb to tell you the world is broken. You heard God’s call to a broken world, a world he loves, and you try to live out that call every single day. You have given up what Rachel Pieh Jones calls the Western illusion of safety, instead you walk in the safety of God.

You have chosen a currency beyond fear. Because when fear is our currency, we cannot live effectively. Whether this be around parenting, around work, or around where we are called to live, this is truth.When fear is our currency, we forget that safety is not about where we live, or work, or play.

Safety is about knowing where our security lies, what we’re called to do, and who we’re called to be.

What are we called to when we face a broken world?

We are called to pray. For those of us familiar with the Muslim world, we know that all of life is ordered by the call to prayer. Five times a day the call rings out across cities, towns, and villages. It echoes from minarets calling faithful Muslims to prayer. I am fully aware of the differences in belief systems and truth claims between Christianity and Islam – yet five times a day for much of my life I have been reminded to lift my heart in prayer. And those five times stretch to many times in between until I realize I am slowly learning that I can’t make it through this life without prayer; that the exhortation to ‘pray without ceasing’ is life-giving. That in the midst of senseless acts of violence, in the midst of tragedy, I am called to pray. Called to pray to a God who hears and loves, a God who is present in tragedy and accepts our “why’s”, a God who knows no national boundaries or citizenship, a God who took on our human pain and suffering when he “willingly endured the cross”.

Our God is a Global God; our God is a local God. Just as concerned about the person in my neighborhood who is hurting as he is about the tragedies in Baghdad, in Lebanon, in Paris. That’s what makes him God.

So what do you do when the hurt of the world is too much to bear? You put your head down and pray so deeply it hurts. And then you go to work doing what you know you’re called to do for the day, because you are not the Saviour, you are only the saved and that by grace alone.

So I pray for you this day – in Thailand and Djibouti; in Colombia and India; in Senegal and Singapore; in Montreal and Kansas; in Egypt and in Lebanon, and so many places in between.  Thank you for who you are and what you do. May you know mercy and grace, laughter and joy. May you see beauty in the broken, and hope in the midst of confusion.

*Author’s note: this piece is a collection of several different pieces written on Communicating Across Boundaries in the past 4 years.

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About Marilyn

An adult third culture kid, Marilyn grew up in Pakistan and then raised her own 5 third culture kids in Pakistan and Egypt. She currently lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts 15 minutes from the international terminal. She works with underserved, minority communities as a public health nurse and flies to the Middle East & Pakistan as often as possible. She is the author of Between Worlds: Essays on Culture and Belonging and you can find her blogging at Communicating Across Boundaries.

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