The heaviness in my heart concerning recent events feels like a wet hot blanket. Because of God's great love, I'm not consumed, but I am certainly aware of the devastation of sin in our world.
I cannot watch any stories concerning Penn State about what is happening or has been happening for so many years without crying. My heart aches for all the kids whose lives were ravaged by a crazed, sinful, perverted man and system. What kind of world did they live in that allowed these things to happen? Who would choose a man and supposed friendship over saving the life of a child? How could it not occur to them to call the police? How could they go on day after day standing on the sidelines with someone they had suspicions could be hurting a child in one of the very worst ways?
When the university students first began protesting about Joe Paterno keeping his job my heart ached and my stomach turned. I get the mob mentality that comes with their age and lack of wisdom, but they so definitely missed it. Why were there no vehicles turned over or shouts and cries over the victimization of innocent children? Is football really the idol of all idols in our country? Is the firing of an old man whose lived a long, "successful", extremely lucrative life such a horrible thing? Did they not stop and realize their heroes did nothing to protect boys and understand that they could have been the victims?
Obviously, the devastation and tragedy of all of this is truly settling over their community and we are reading and hearing stories of great leaders advocating for the victims. I'm thankful for voices of rage and mourning for each child and his family. I'm glad people are humbly speaking of the hope of repentance, restoration, and the future. I'm praying that even through the horror of all of this, God will work His wonders and draw people to Himself. The sick and twisted sin of this story gives off a distinct heaviness that is extremely uncomfortable which leads to extreme gratitude for Jesus' sacrifice and his plan to redeem the world unto Himself.
I've also been contemplating another story that has made my heart heavy and hopeful.
Many of you know that through a ministry in Waco, Texas I first heard about taking gift bags into strip clubs. If you want to read more about our ministry called Cord of Hope, you can do that here.
The ministry in Waco is called Jesus Said Love. Through the years I've read about much of their work. They've shared several stories of a woman named Dixie who was a dancer. This week I read that Dixie had given her life to Christ, was engaged to a man who was also a new follower of Jesus, and was going to be baptized today. I shared the story with my good friend Regan who helps me lead Cord of Hope and expressed to her how I was really overwhelmed with Dixie's story. Often I dream about how amazing it will be if/when God allows us to build lasting relationships with women in and out of the business. To hear how God was redeeming this woman's life was incredible. I prayed for her several times over the last week.
On Friday one of the founders of Jesus Said Love shared that Dixie had been killed in a car accident. Please, please take time to read this post about her life and death.
To be honest, I've wept over this story. It has touched me so deeply for so many reasons. I'm so thankful that God revealed himself to Dixie and she gave her life to him. I'm thankful that she was engaged to a man who wanted her for her, not for what she could sell to him, but because they loved each other and loved Jesus. Obviously I never talked to Dixie, but I'm sure she began to experience healing and freedom that only God can bring. I've cried over a life by human perspective seems gone way too soon.
But, I've also cried over the unbelievable freedom and healing Dixie now has in Christ. It is complete and fulfilled. She is in the overwhelming presence of Christ. The pain and wounds from her past burden her no more.
I've also cried through what God's plan could be in all of this. Could it be that more people will come to know Him through her death? Will her children give their lives to him? Will her friends? Will Jesus Said Love be able to share with more and more and more people because of the life and death of Dixie?
I know that He has a plan. I know that He loves Dixie and is enjoying having her in His presence. I know that He owes us no explanation and we may never know His plan in this. However, I'm praying that the breadth and depth of change in people's lives because of Dixie will expand His kingdom in profound ways.
Jesus has a way of taking the heaviness of my heart and reminding me that He is my hope. Without Him, this world is horrific. With Him, hope abounds more and more and more and more...