A Sweater In The Cold

The world is unraveling like a spool of yarn. Like yarn that’s soft and full of promise. The makings of something good, of something warm and comforting and soft and full and beautiful, are all there like God gave us this gift and intended that the outcome would be a sweater. A sweater that was warm and large and could stretch big enough to hold everyone in its embrace.

But the world is unraveling like a spool of yarn. It seems that the gift that we were given has been hijacked. Like it’s being woven tight and stiff into something itchy and oppressive and suffocating. People, the very fabric of this world connected like a long thread- that was what was intended to bring warmth and comfort, to be the carriers of it, anyway. But, during weeks like these, it seems that something else altogether is being created.

Is being destroyed.

We watch, dumbfounded and cold as death tolls rise and shocked faces dripping with tears and devastation tell stories of joy turned to utter sorrow. We watch in confusion and anger as the world spins faster than we ever wanted, throwing safety and comfort and any sense out of its orbit like bullets out of a revolver. Things are coming apart. Lives are wrecked. What we thought was safe is shaken and crumbling once again.

We watch and wonder what recourse we have in times like these? What answers can we offer, what words can we say, what hope can we provide when a husband is shot down while holding his wife’s hand and friends watch as medics drape a white sheet over the girl that stood beside them dancing only moments ago? It feels as if we have been left out in the cold with nothing. It feels as if answers are only mirages and hope is eons away.

But feelings can be deceiving, can’t they? You only need to look at the power that hate can have over someone to know that this is the truth.

We can feel things that aren’t true. Our hearts can be wayward souls at times, wayward friends that need leading.

And leaders must arise, especially in times of crisis.

Leaders must arise and remind hearts and heads and the confused and downcast and hopeless that this does not have to be so. This is not our reality. Our hope is not lost.

We know that nothing can change the events of this weekend, that nothing we do can reverse this awful trajectory but we know something else, too. We know the one that can carry us through it. We know the power that his comfort can provide.

Lives are lost and devastation rages just like winter comes every year. We can’t change what happened any more than we can change a blizzard but we can offer comfort in the midst of it. Comfort like a sweater in the cold.

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The Father of compassion, the God of all comfort. We know Him and He knows us. He is near. He is accessible. His heart is broken and His arms are open and, despite how we feel, we have to know that there is hope in Him.

What’s more, we have to offer it to others. You see, because He is who He says he is and because we are His ambassadors, we are not without hope, we are not without recourse. The world has not been left out in the cold without anything to keep us warm. His plans have not been hijacked, his people have not been overcome.

The God of all comfort, he is within us. Therefore, all comfort is before us ready to take up and bring to those who need it. Ready to be wrapped around them and to tend to their broken and cold lives.

This is no small thing, this comfort in the midst of tragedy. It is our marching orders, our mandate in times like these. We were created and equipped for such a time as this. To lead hearts away from despair and to turn them towards truth. The truth that lies in the promise of better things. The truth that can be found in his compassion and comfort.

So, while the world is unraveling, here is our mission; to take up the shredded threads and to redeem them. To hold them out to the Father of compassion with confidence. He has turned sorrow into joy before and He will do it again. And He will do it with the help of His people. So where do we start? We take those broken pieces and we hold them tight. We speak with empathy and gentleness and selflessness. We hug hard and pray harder. We tap into wisdom instead of empty words in the coming days and we watch for opportunities to be present in people’s sorrow. We press in and hold those unraveled threads out to the comforter of our souls.

And then we watch as He weaves a sweater of warmth and hope and comfort and peace, and, yes, someday, joy around His world once again. The Father of compassion. The God of all comfort. There is hope, yet.

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