We are a broken people.
I was reminded of our frailty two days ago when my brother finally told me the reason last semester had been difficult for him, why he seemed so contemplative about his future and amazed that relationships could function at all. After much prayer, fasting, and advice, he had a series of discussions with a good friend and initially their relationship deepened—-but soon after, he essentially lost her friendship and still doesn’t understand why. “God, I did what you wanted me to… how could the results turn so bad?”
I was reminded of our frailty two days ago when I had dinner with a friend of mine whose girlfriend recently broke up with him; the end came three weeks ago but he’s still hurting, although he’s not advertising it. That night, other friends he hadn’t seen in a while noticed that he wasn’t his usual self, but he didn’t have the energy to launch into explanations. “How do you just tell someone in the middle of a [swing] dance that your girlfriend broke up with you but it was a few weeks ago and it’s still not easy?”
I was reminded of our frailty last night when another friend asked me about my financial situation and I fudged my answer: “Well, it varies.” While I’m not starving, I have less than I admit—-which brought me to the thought, how can others even attempt to address our needs if we’re scared to admit that we have them in the first place? I’m so concerned with looking like I have it all together, like I’m invincible—-even when I’m foundering, in most areas of my life I won’t ask for help. I almost never (literally, only a handful of times) cry in front of people; in my proud mind, that would be a sign of weakness.
But the truth is that we are weak. We hurt and hurt each other. So we build walls, cities, veritable fortresses that Napoleon’s army couldn’t break through. In Jesus, God experienced firsthand what it means to live in a hurting world—-but instead of building the defenses that eventually alienate us from one another, he left himself vulnerable. He cried with Mary when she mourned the death of her brother. His heart went out to the widow whose only son had died—-he comforted her and for her sake, raised her son from the dead. He wept for Jerusalem, a city that would clamor for his death, because he knew it would be destroyed, its children killed.
And he does the same today. When we look at injustice and pain and failure, yelling to God, “Why?” he doesn’t just stand impassively, shaking his head at our audacity—-he grieves for us, with us. Even as we wonder why he doesn’t seem to be taking action.
My hope is that this section will serve as a constant reminder of the kind of God we’ve pledged ourselves to, a deeply personal God who must be encountered rather than just studied or discussed. And if you haven’t yet met him, my prayer is that you will, that you would experience him tangibly. We are a broken people. And that is why we need God.