Our Warring Hearts
Psalm 30; Lamentations 2:18–22; Luke 4:31–37
In the science fiction series, Babylon 5, we learn about the “great” war. The great war was between two sides fighting for the benefit (or the evolution) of the “lesser” species. Each side has a different method to initiate change and improvement. One side (“the light”) seeks to change people through peaceful means. The other side (“the shadows”) seeks to change people through fear, pain, and, most importantly, war. The sad part about this is the ultimate conclusion from the series is that both sides are right and wrong. It really does echo human history.
For those who have grown up in these last few decades and for those who seek the love of God, passages of destruction and penalty are often emotionally hard to read and more difficult to understand the seeming conflict between the God of love and the apparent God of wrath.
When we read Lamentations it should, if we have our empathy intact, lead our hearts to ache for the loss and pain of Israel. It’s not that we do not understand that this is a consequence of Israel’s abandonment of God. We are human. We are called to empathize with others, even while we understand that these were consequences. Part of the struggle is that we long for comfort and security. We want our God to protect our understanding of our comfort and security. Whenever God even appears to challenge our comfort and security (even if it is for our own good), we cry out to and at God.
We will often sound like that man in Capernaum. “What have you do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us?”
Our earthly minds will often disregard the man either because of his possession, or (if we don’t believe in literal possession) because he is a mentally ill man (the modern view). Regardless of which choice, the man still sounds like many of us. “Don’t change us. We like the way we are living.”
Change often ends up being a little death and a little mourning. We either have the courage to face and embrace it, or we respond in fear and anger when it comes upon us.
- Have you ever had a personal life change that felt a little like death (not talking about the death of a loved one)?
- Why do we often reject war (of many kinds) and pain, pursue and desire change, and yet often only change when thrust into the middle of war and pain?
Help pursue a life of holy change. Train our hearts to see you and not the trials that temper us. Amen.
Ian is an ordained elder in the Church of the Nazarene, and is currently Co-Lead Pastor at Enumclaw Nazarene Church in Enumclaw, WA, USA.
He has previously served as Online Campus Pastor at Generations Community Church in Marysville, WA, USA; Associate Pastor at Snohomish Church of the Nazarene; College and Young Adult Pastor at Moscow Church of the Nazarene in Moscow, ID, USA.
Ian also writes at Starlyth.info (personal) and Nazarene.Digital (On Digital Transformation of the Church)