On Monday, I was doing some work at my desk when I stopped to check the news. I saw the screen flooding with "Breaking News" reports of a bombing at the Boston Marathon. The other news stories filling the screen included threats from Asia, and death in the Middle East. Local headlines for the day in my city told of gang warfare, and youth lost again.
"So much death. What can man do against such reckless hate?"
These epic words were spoken by King Theoden in the second installment of The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy. The movies are based on the books by J.R.R. Tolkien and I am a huge fan of his writing. I've read his books, and I am always up for a weekend marathon of the Lord of the Rings movies!
Tolkien wrote years ago, but I think he is still so popular today because his themes of tyranny, tragedy, desperation, and hopelessness echo through the years. These are human issues, issues that we grapple with. Where is God in senseless tragedy? How can one person act hatefully to another? So much death...what can we do?
In the movie, Aragorn's response to Theoden is just as epic, "Ride out with me!" Aragorn is the heir to the throne of men in Tolkien's Middle Earth, and he steps right into Theoden's helplessness and infuses him with hope. They are in the midst of a battle that they will surely lose. An evil enemy is closing in, pushing through the door with weapons and hate.
"Ride out with me!" Theoden is boldened and steps into the fray with Aragorn at his side, and the battle is eventually won.
This movie scene came to my mind as I was taking in the news on Monday...news from every corner of the world. With clarity, I realized that this is our only response to great evil and tragedy. The response is to engage, to jump into the battle, and to ride out!
Straight into it we ride, with banners waving. Our weapon is love, our message is grace, and we have hope.
In the darkest hour of this world, in the moment of unbearable tragedy and unspeakable loss we engage the world. Because that's where God engaged us. He stepped into the train wreck of humanity and suffered great pain in the battle zone, and He is with us now...no matter how fierce the battle, no matter how high the cost, He is inviting us to ride out with Him and bring His hope and grace and love to a world in desperate need.
I need to remember this because my own personal "mission field" is just too much sometimes. Stories of pain, abuse, and terrible loss are all too common. Injustice and grinding poverty seem like evil enemies at the gate and many mornings I wake up and I am just not brave enough to face it. But Jesus calls me to engage the world with Him. Every day.
Those who hate are reckless. But we are reckless too. We love recklessly, we offer hope recklessly, and we ride out recklessly when no one else will. So, with prayers on our lips, and hope in our hearts...today we ride out, and tomorrow, and the next because His Love conquers all.
Do you ever feel like the hurt around you is too much? How do you find the strength and grace to engage people in those difficult places?