I have spent today stuck. I’m writing a sermon for Sunday. I’ve been excited about the text for a couple of weeks. But I can’t write a thing about it. I feel like I’m cracking up. Twelve people are dead in California. It has not even been two weeks since eleven people were killed in Pittsburgh. And nothing is happening. Nothing is going to change. It’s been normalized. And I am tired. I am numb. I want to scream and yell all of the cuss words.
And this isn’t the first time I’ve written something like this. That scares me. Right now, I do not like this world. It is full of hatred and vitriol. This country that is my home seems to love guns more than life itself. Or at the very least, the machine that holds guns to be America’s most sacred institution is too loud to let the cries of those mourning tens of thousands of dead be heard.
I want to run. I want to run because, where I sit right now, this is just the tip of a crappy iceberg. I want to take my sons and my wife and get away from here. Will this feeling pass? Probably. But the fact that this feeling is so suffocatingly strong right now concerns me. I’m tired of dead people. I’m tired of thoughts and prayers. I’m tired of the racists and the white nationalists. I’m tired of the Christians who either actively support this or merely stay silent. I’m tired and I want to run.
Irony of ironies is I’m preaching about Jonah this week. The prophet who ran. The prophet who, at the end of the day, didn’t truly love his neighbor. He wanted to see wrath unleashed. He didn’t want to see restoration and redemption. I feel so much like Jonah right now.
I used to not understand the psalmists who wanted to see their enemies crushed underfoot. But as hatred flows freely. As people scream bloody murder when you even mention about gun control laws while these weapons are used to kill people in churches, synagogues, schools, concerts, workplaces, and everywhere. As I think about California and Pittsburgh and Charleston and Newtown and my youth and my sons. I get it. I get that desire for wrath to be unleashed.
And I want to confess that desire is there while simultaneously saying that I don’t want that anger to be the final word. I don’t want to run. I don’t want to see wrath unleashed. God help the parts of me that do. I want to see repentance and redemption and change. I want that anger to be a channel. I want it to be transformed into something that is beneficial. Something that helps. I don’t want to be Jonah right now, but I sure do feel like him. I’m tired.
God be with the families of Thousand Oaks. God be with the families of Pittsburgh. God be with us all. God give us strength to stay and work for what is good; even when we want to run.