Something I wrote in Chapel Once That I had Originally Only Shared With Three People

I have a desire to help the broken people of the world, as do most of my peers. Yet, within my own desire, there is an inconsistency. A part of me is sympathetic to the hurt and broken people of the world. I know pain. I know frustration, especially when the circumstances of life are far beyond our own means to fix. But another part of me is cynical. This is the darkest part of my soul. I find no merit in suffering and I dismiss the relative heartache that every person goes through as immature and unwarranted. I don’t know why. I know how crippling pain can be. In my own life, I can’t say I’ve been able to pull through everything with draconian discipline. There have been days when I will set aside responsibility for days because of heartache. There are days when I will walk away from homework because I’m scared to be alone. Even worse, I use my circumstances to justify my behavior. Its easy to write off my cynicism as a product of the difficulties that I’ve been dealt in life. The bitterness produced makes me more susceptible to fall into my darkness. It creates hatred. Soon I’ll be cussing up a storm everywhere. Part of me wants to stop, but the hurt part wants to keep lashing out at the world.
And I think part of the reason I let this cynicism consume me is that I’m scared that I will never get a solution. I’m scared that my prayers won’t be answered because a lot of my biggest ones haven’t so far. I used to try to devote a certain amount of hours a week to praying and fasting. And then my mom died. Her house was foreclosed on. And in the midst of that every minor detail that could have gone wrong went wrong. Yet I looked to God for a resolution. I did my best to keep it together and not lose faith. I cried out to God at all hours of the day for peace but I received very little. All I was given was the strength to carry on. And I did, with every intention of following Jesus as I did. I even followed him up to Aptos, where I would learn about church planting. Still no peace. My dad started using meth, and his paranoid episodes started again – which ever came first I cannot say. I asked God to help me forgive him for the things he did to my family when I was a child so that I could be there for him. But I have not forgotten, which makes it difficult to forgive, and while I keep composure for his sake, on the inside I am still brewing hatred for the man that terrorized my mother for everyday of her life, and in so many ways, dug her grave for her. My father was deported, my brother taken in as a ward of the state, and that incurable mental disease still terrorizes the security of my family. I still can’t answer phone calls from home without the anxiety that something terrible has happened. “Joseph, you need to come home, dad tried to kill himself.” “Joseph, you need to come home, mom is dying.” “Joseph, we need you, dad is trying to break down the neighbors door with an axe.” “Joseph, your dad is being sent to Mexico.” “Joseph, your brother is being taken from home.” In the midst of these problems I have looked to God for solutions and I rarely find them in a way that would bring peace for my heart or my household. All I get is the strength to carry on. Which I am grateful for, but I find that I cannot be comfortable with just that. Consequently, I am scared. I am scared to pray. I’m scared to live in piety. I’m scared to be confident in the promises of God because I’m still waiting for a resolution.
When I find that compassion within myself to fight cynicism, I am overwhelmed with the desire to help others in suffering. No doubt, this is a result of trying to walk with Jesus, because in these times my heart is more sensitive to the unobservable needs of people. In these times I have no problem finding solutions for worldly issues, issues of the flesh. God has designed me to be a problem solver and a deep thinker, and in so many ways, a doer. I am resourceful enough to fix things without being given much. But I know that fixing issues is more complex than simply feeding someone that is hungry. By doing such a thing I have temporarily fixed hunger, but I have not given hope. Jesus is the only hope that I can give that can satisfy the human need for hope. I recognize this. It’s way I have continued to turn to Jesus in my own time of need. My problem is, however, that I find it difficult to find hope even for myself, much less for other people. I am scared to have hope for myself because of the fear that I might be disappointed. This makes it difficult for me to point people to the hope that is in Jesus. How can I tell people that they need him, that there is comfort in him, that he can fix things if I’m still waiting for things to be fixed for me? Obviously I have had profound experiences with Jesus, otherwise I would have left the faith long ago. I have felt his presence. I have done my best to follow him, albeit there are times when I try a lot harder than others. These last few years I’ve spent growing in Jesus, getting to know him better, basking in his love have effected me in such a way that I want other people to get to know him. I want them to experience him too. But the pain I carry is still very much… painful. There isn’t a single day where I don’t ask God to take me back in time so that I can take my mom to the doctor before it is too late. I’ve been praying this prayer since her funeral, only after I realize that my prayers for God to bring her back to life weren’t going to be fulfilled. I’ve said it already, but I still have the anxiety that at any moment something more terrible can happen. I still carry the shame of having a father with a mental disorder and the loneliness of having my brother taken from my father’s house. I feel the burden of my family while being forced to accept that there is not a single thing that I can do about it. So what do I do with this?
I don’t know. But for some reason, even with my uncertainty about whether I will ever have the peace of mind that I want, I feel drawn to Jesus. I want to keep trying to follow him. I want to be better at it too. I want to help point other people to him. I want them to try and follow him in the same way that I am trying. I even want other people to be better at it. I want Jesus even more than I want clarity and peace in life. In fact, I want Jesus in a raw and simple way. I want him in his purest form, where I can worship, love and follow him in manner that I am allowed. I want to be able to follow Jesus in the monotony of everyday life and to find his value in the religious rituals which God has humored us with. I want to see Jesus worshipped in the commonplace, in the traditional Christian practices, in the Pentecostal tradition of which I am a part of, in daily prayers given toward Mecca, in the burning of incense of traditional Hindu shrines, and in the disciplined meditation of Buddhists. In the same manner in which I want to see Jesus worshipped in these things, I also want to worship him. I want Jesus to the value which I find in anything I do.
The thing that is really getting me right now is that even in my insecurities, doubts, and bitterness that I feel toward God, I feel that Jesus is still inviting me to come hang out with him.


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