Our Collective Soul Shrapnel

Our Collective Soul Shrapnel June 23, 2020

The world’s on fire, cinder and ash, pluming smoke rising as high as our hearts can see.

Everyone shouts their throats hoarse, spitting anger, confusion, elevating their words to be heard over the clangs and gongs of justice gone wrong. This world is awash in misery and misdirection, desperate for a salve to stop the still-spilling wounds of bent and burning hearts.

Call it what you will, but there’s one name that can’t be covered up: evil. It stalks this earth like a beast enraged, keeps a watchful eye on where to let loose.

Evil is evil and we stare into its gaping mouth every day, howling when we withstand another slash of its fangs. We stand our ground and do our best to fight against this immovable force, but we can’t get a good grip on such a slimy foe. So, we open our lungs and scream all the louder at the ears that refuse to hear and make a way to wholeness. Voices raise and shatter, pile up and fall to a buzzing shore like running into the ocean and getting slapped under a wave that knocks us down with power.

The people shout and wave their arms, eager to find attention to address the fear and hate and upside-down disaster of destroying fellow human beings that has become our normal. We rail, and the One who cupped the vast non-existence and blew life across the galaxies bends low His head, heaves His lungs from the bottom of His bloody side, and mourns at the madness of the prowling, roaring lion.

We cast stones; Jesus weeps.

Weeps for the hardness of hearts that fuels such hate and callousness, for the vulnerable who are abused and abandoned, for the indifferent who bury their heads in the sand to stay away from anything that might disrupt their ordered and safe life, for how the enemy has terrorized and trapped His children in a suffocating vice.

The whole world’s gone bloody mad and Jesus can’t hold back His tears.

Are we not called to do the same? Allow ourselves to feel the heat of the world, the scorch of pain under our skin, wet our faces with the sadness of reality and throw what tired hope we have on Him who came into our haggard mess in the first place? The One who will prevail, in the end, over this putrid evil, when the battle wounds will stop and we will help one another up from off the ground. When our tears are turned into treasured joy, and all wrongs are finally right.

But until then, we call the pain what it is—our soul shrapnel—and brace ourselves to bleed, hit mid-step with the sear of another set of alarming news, and kneel in agony, crossing hearts and hands, hopeful, still, for cooling waters of comfort in the midst of mourning.

So, mourn. Wail and wring your heart at the searing of this world. Cry and call out for the Lord’s ears to hear, for His heart to not be far off and to bring Himself close to the guttural pain of the unseen, the stubborn, the removed. Listen. Do you hear the whimpers of the one standing beside you? Can you stop the swarm of noise buzzing about your brain to be still and lean towards the quiet cries of Jesus shown in the eyes of another? Pay attention. Look around. And act. On behalf of this burning world, our busted hearts, the indignation for a fallen world that isn’t right. God’s soothing salve can rain down cool on our fiery hearts, and He gives when we implore. Ask, then, on behalf of those who don’t know they’re combusting, those in need of quenching waters of grace, for eyes to see and hearts to mend and move towards one another, move in close.

Now, only Jesus, we lament. Only Jesus can reflect our hearts in new perspectives, in forgiveness, in healing. Only Jesus can move us from the ashes to rebirth, restoration. So, come. Come, Lord Jesus. Calm our burning hearts. Your will be done among our weeping.

About Sarah Renneicke
Sarah Rennicke enjoys listening to the heartbeats of the world and conveying them through words. She writes for numerous nonprofit organizations and publications, including Compassion International, YouVersion, and Ruminate, and has a strong affinity for dark roast coffee. Sarah is a member of Redbud Writers Guild, a vibrant and diverse movement of Christian women who create in community and who influence culture and faith. In the in-between moments, she likes to write narrative and lyrical essays exploring the longings of life and soul. You can read more about the author here.

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