These last few weeks have been a poignant reminder that I live in a very fallen and cursed world. It seems like everywhere I turn, someone close to me is suffering, struggling, or sinning; I look at the world, and things have gone insane; and then I glance at my reflection, and I see the same thing. I look at my own life, and I look at the lives of my friends and my students, and I don’t like it. I have a sense of how things should be, and things aren’t lining up. They aren’t even close. Why do people hurt you? Why do people hurt themselves? Why don’t we get what we want, when what we want seems so right? And why doesn’t it seem like things will ever get better?
As I’ve talked to dozens of people–and read the news–these past few weeks, I know I’m not the only one feeling the weight of these things. I’m hard-pressed to find someone who isn’t. But the answers seem so easy when it’s someone else–until you realize that those trite, super-spiritual answers just don’t make you feel any better or help you know what to do next. Answers don’t come packaged; conflict rarely gets fully resolved; life doesn’t pause long enough for us to wrap our minds around it.
And so I want to stop. I want to stop trying to love people. I want to stop trying to fight for what is right. I want to stop working hard. And I want to run away. I want to escape to a world that makes sense, a world that is right, a world where I get what I want. But during these times of existential angst, I find a piece of comfort and a shred of calling–and they’re enough to get me through and keep me from running away.
I think about the women at the cross. For in their suffering I find solace, and in their service I find my calling.
As they lowered the body of their broken Lord, nothing made sense. Sorrow overwhelmed their senses. Their good hope in the Kingdom of God coming in power and glory lay limp in their arms. Unimaginable disillusionment and despair heaved in their breasts. And yet they remained. The disciples had fled, locking themselves in the upper room to protect themselves from the reality of their hopelessness and failure. But the women remained. And the women served.
When they came to the tomb that Sunday morning, they had every reason to turn back, to join the disciples cowering behind the locked doors of their coward hearts. But they went to the tomb to serve their Lord with no hope that the sorrow of Friday afternoon would ever pass. And yet in their act of service, they saw their hope restored in the face of their risen Lord.
And so it is to these women that I look for comfort and calling. For what is our calling but to serve our Lord? He is our portion. Although all things might be stripped from us, although fear might seize us, although confusion might cloud our vision, out of Christ’s fullness, He can repay all He takes away. And out of His fullness, we can serve Him. For the things we do for His glory and as a part of His Kingdom will remain in the mind of God long after all of this confusing world has faded away.