See No Evil – For Those Who Are Called to See

news-644844_640I don’ t know about you but

everyone around me is feeling the strain
of endless news reports, sadness, fear, empathy, and speculation.
It seems especially hard on people who feel the responsibility of keeping others safe.
So, I thought it was time to repeat this post.
Take care of yourselves, loved ones.

There are things I’d rather not know about or see.

I’ve no need to peer inside the human body–

but I’m glad there are people willing to do that so that if someone I love requires surgery, it can happen.

I’ve no desire to understand the mind of drug lords or child predators

but I’m thankful for law enforcement experts willing to understand them in order to stop them.

I prefer to think about helping the poor, creating works of art, and saving the planet than to have to ponder subjects like

human trafficking, animal cruelty, domestic violence, greed, corruption, and substance abuse –

but I deeply appreciate people willing to devote their lives understanding these issues and working to combat them.

In the course of the job I do on weekdays, I encounter a hefty measure of life’s ugly messiness. I often see the twisting work of the evil one up close and very personal.

It’s not easy to see, impossible to forget, and challenging to come home and process. But, I’m not alone.

There are other people who see things in the course of their work that others don’t even want to know about.

First responders who arrive at accidents or fire or crime scenes no one should experience.

Medical staff and medical examiners who have front row seats to injuries, illness, and loss that would keep most of us up at night.

Law enforcement and armed forces personnel who see the worst of humanity. Missionaries who serve in the midst of unbelievable poverty. Ministers who are called to work with those involved in prostitution or to those reduced to their lesser selves by opiate addiction. Caregivers of all kinds who minister to people in their weakest and most vulnerable, sometimes most tragic states.

Once, a sweet, older, Christian lady asked about my work. I didn’t have two sentences out of my mouth before she held up a hand and recited Philippians 4:8.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” NIV

I sort of looked at her blinking until she explained, “I don’t want anything of the world to fill my thoughts. I don’t understand how anyone can allow that kind of thing in and still have room in their mind for the Lord.”

Okay.

I get it. The jobs I’ve mentioned are not for everyone. It is a challenge not to let the things we see occupy more of our thinking than that which is lovely and pure.

But often, what we see is true and seeing it is usually the first step to stopping it, which is noble.

So, I’ve no desire to condemn the sweet, Christian lady for not wanting to hear or see

 except to say I don’t believe the verse from Philippians was intended to be used in the same way a child sticks his fingers in his ears and chants, “la-la-la-la, I can’t hear you!”

It would have been sufficient to say that she couldn’t bear to hear any stories of sadness or pain. God has different callings for us all.

But He does call some of us to see what makes others turn away, and while seeing is a particular burden, it actually makes more room in our minds for God, not less.

Because, when we open our mind to the pain, the suffering and, the agonizing stories of others and when we agree to carry their burdens for even a time, then we have the very mind of Christ.

To all of those who are called to see – you have my gratitude and my prayers. I am especially praying this week for the first responders in Newtown, Connecticut and to all those first responders trying to protect the children in their own communities from future incidents.

If you want to reach out in the name of Jesus this week, send a note, a card, a plate of cookies to someone in your community who is willing to see what would destroy the rest of us and say “thank you” for protecting me from things I don’t even know are out there.
And loved ones, it’s okay to turn the media off, close your eyes, and allow God to heal you from all you’ve heard this week. It’s okay to heal. It’s okay to survive this terrible tragedy.
Press in to God, loved ones. There is evil in this world but evil doesn’t get the last word.

First and Last – the Word is Jesus.


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3 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. Anonymous says:

    Living with a “first responder” for 53 years, I know what he goes through each time he reaches a fire scene, car accident, suicide. And my only way of helping him get through it is to pray for him to have “the peace that passes understanding.” When we feel helpless in the face of terrible, senseless violence, we can pray. Not as a last resort, but as a first. MOMMA

  2. We are all call to do something. God has something He would like us each to do for Him. It may be in our job, or as a volunteer for a missions or social services organization. To rescue animals or save the planet. It may be the gift of hospitality in welcoming neighbors and making your neighborhood warmer, nicer, more heaven-like. You may be called to the prayer warrior position. Whatever it is If We Each Do What God Has Called Us To Do, It Will All Be Covered.

    But we’re not all doing what we’re called to do. Not even in the body of Christ. I’m thinking of when I heard a female preacher speak. She had been doing women’s conferences, women’s Bible studies, etc. And then she opened in inner city ministry. And a male preacher in the area came to “counsel” her. He told her the ministry she’s opened was a job for a man, not for her. She told him she hadn’t done this lightly. In fact, she’s asked God that very thing. Wouldn’t a man be better suited to do this for You? And she heard clearly, dramatically, and definitely in her spirit, “I called ten men. None answered the call, so I called you.”

    Love your article. After we’ve done what we can do and have been called to do, we stand…and He also asks us to rest and be with our loved ones.