the world is on fire

Last night I went up to tuck my 5 year old into bed and I walked around the corner and came upon a sheepishly smiling child. She held a clean white piece of paper to her chest and whispered, “I made you something.” I held out my hands to receive what has become a nightly gift. This child’s love language is gifts. She loves me by making me beautiful creations. She turns over the paper and I see all the color and the rainbows and smile.

My daughter starts to explain what it is: “Mom, the house is on fire.”

I freeze inside. She keeps talking but I’m not listening anymore.

All I hear is a voice deep deep within me say, “This is our world. We’re on fire.” Tears spring to my eyes. My throat gets tight. I finally feel the pain and terror and anger from the most recent news cycle. Puerto Rico, the latest health care bill, the NFL kneeling situation, North Korea.

The world feels like it’s on fire. And not in a good way.

Then my eyes land back on the picture and I’m overwhelmed with a different feeling. All the color saturates my heart. The tears turn to joy as I feel God holding the world, even while it’s on fire.

I look at the creator of this gift and say, “thank you.”

“Mom, look, people are putting water on the house and putting the fire out.”

Friends, these are really difficult times for each of us. We each see reality from a different perspective. And something in us wants to fight everyone who disagrees with us. May we remember none of this is about winning an argument. It’s all about showing up and paying attention to the person in front of you. Be curious about their story, the way they see the world, the color of the skin, the character of their heart.

Here’s what I know. The world is a bit on fire. Like it has been throughout history. People were doing some pretty awful things to each other thousands of years ago too. Now, we just know a lot more about it as it happens.

I also know we’re each invited to help put the fire out. In our own way. It may feel insignificant, but it’s not. Some march in the streets, others teach respect in classrooms. Some help kids stop bullying, others create beautiful art about resistance. Some pray, others raise money for ACLU. Some write and sing, others turn off their devices.

Do the thing your heart must do. Speak up, stand up, kneel, lay down and pray. Whatever it is, please don’t give in to the fear and hate. The world may be on fire but God is still holding it all and moving in our midst as a source of healing and reconciliation.

We are God’s plan for the world to know the way of love and peace is how this fire gets put out.

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