no discernment in the dark

Bombs and gunfire and fear.

Fridays are fun days and Paris is that place, that place that conjures love and food and romance and wine and wistful getaways. This twisted Friday the 13th tore a hole in the heart of that city and those of us across the ocean who sat mesmerized.

It was not unlike that September day when our minds tried to assimilate, make sense of the horror unfolding before our eyes.

This cannot be. Not again.

Can you believe this? Can you see it?

People cut down. Made small by mad men, sick with sin. Desperately sick, desperately in need. Men who, with their own devices, hurt and destroy in a feeble attempt to heal their own empty hearts.

This pervading evil has reached full mass and boiled over out of black and empty hearts. They have filled full with the rancid that will not soothe or comfort or restore. And when the venom they thought medicinal is ingested and does not repair the way they thought it would, their hearts and minds frantically writhe and fight and spew it back on those who dare to disagree. Not even those who disagree, even just those who exist outside of their venom-induced hallucination. The poison has gone down deep, so deep that it’s not just those in disagreement, it is all those that are other. Others upon whom they have thrown their assumptions. It is a path with no boundaries, no borders, no safe places. When we cast upon others assumptions and judgments that are not ours to make we end in ugly, dark, despairing places. The boundaries have disappeared. All has become dark.

Their own failure is highlighted, their own lack of peace is so glaringly obvious. And just like the hurt and angry cornered animal, they lash out in a most dangerous fashion. Their own hurt must morph, must move on. They push it out in hopes that they will eventually be soothed. Violence begets more violence and the solutions allude.

There is no relief. There is no comfort.

This is a fight we all face.

There is a darkness within. It is birthed from a conversation we should’ve never entered. The whispers of the slithering serpent are lies that should never have been entertained. Once we’ve listened and the venom makes its way in, we feel we are worthless and must fight to make people hear and understand. We think we must achieve to please God. God will only be pleased IF we DO this thing. Fill in the blank.

There is a blank that has to be filled in. He will only be pleased if you kill the infidel. If you bring a meal to the family in need. If you donate this amount of money. If you behead the unbeliever. If you sacrifice your children to their own devices. If you detonate yourself. If you volunteer enough time. Without the safety of those boundaries, without a well-lit path, it is easy to lose your place. Even the things that seem good are missing the mark. There is no discernment in the dark.

The blank is actually a deep and dark chasm that will never be satisfied.

At least not when it’s left to us to fill it.

It doesn’t matter what you put in the blank, as long as you are putting something in it. If you are filling that dark, gaping hole with some performance of your own you will not find relief, or repair, or rescue. Left to our own devices, we will self destruct.

The only answer is that we are not the answer.

We are not seeking an achievement. We are seeking an antidote. The venom of the evil one has invaded all.

Like men who are bolstering their own absolute fear by lashing out, we must lay down our weapons and defenses. We have to recognize our need can only be met by One.
This One who covers us all, fills us up, heals the hurt, soothes the pain, repairs the brokenness.

He is the one that walks the streets of Paris even now. He sees the broken and is there to heal. He sees the grieving and is there to comfort. He sees the angry and is there to calm, to forgive. He is paving a way back. He is creating the safe place. He is leading His own back home.

For those of us who’ve seen the Healer at work because we’ve been healed ourselves, it is time to point the stranded, the struggling, the suffering to the only One deep enough, wide enough, more than enough to fill every black void. We struggle and strain and stretch thin and feel we don’t have answers. We only need point to the One who does.

He is never stretched thin. His reach is enough. His outstretched arms have borne it all—the bullets, the bombs, the hatred, the fear, the loathing, the insignificance. He has disarmed the enemy and staved the venom and crushed the serpent’s head.

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