The Easter story is one of great celebration and yet filled with heavy sorrow. It highlights real human beings, journeying through thick darkness and uncertainty. It encompasses the essence of our faith - a hope in God that sees beyond the dark night into a new day.
Today, we have a generation coming up who ache to give expression to their mournful cry. In times past, we explored the value of positivity, of setting your mind on the next thing, pulling up bootstraps and getting to work... We have celebrated faith often in the context of positivity and perseverance, but we have not always exemplified a faith that co-exists with pain, one that navigates the inner groaning of all creation.
Sometimes, I wonder if we have disconnected from the deep heritage of soulful intelligence that marks many of our predecessors. Our long-standing faith tradition is full of soul-intelligence and spiritual depth. The Bible is written in various layers of literary brilliance, metaphorical depth, and prophetic wonder. It encompasses all the crucial aspects of the human-faith journey. Some of these layers, though, are lost on the modern paradigms that have marked the Western world, those of reason, logic, chronological order...
Has our neglect of contemplative practices and spiritual depth in the evangelical church opened the door for this generation to find a deeper human connectedness in secular, Eastern practices like yoga, meditation, and mindfulness? Have we demonstrated the gift of Sabbath rest in a hurried world, a meditation on God's word that draws His light into the deeper layers of the soul, or a kind of prayer that stirs the bones of the dead and awakens the spirit within?
Today, we need a generation of people who know how to pray, how to rest, how to rejoice, and how to grieve. We need faith-filled Jesus lovers who are connected to the rhythms of humanity. We need spiritual mothers and fathers who demonstrate a gospel that lives and breathes from within that space of raw, true, honest soul awareness.
This generation does not need a Jesus who promises a life without pain, they need to know a Jesus who is willing to co-exist with pain. They need to know the Jesus who feels, who suffers, who mourns, and who weeps. The one who unleashes the deepest cry of our souls and gives a voice to each generation.
He is a master at connecting with people in pain because he is a master at connecting with people who are human. And the Western world, whoever and whatever that encompasses today, has forgotten what it means to be human.
I think God is ready to unleash a movement of soul-deep, gospel healing. I think he is raising up a generation who are not afraid of the dark, but who are prepared as children of the Light to navigate the dark corners and crevices of the human soul as well as our outer world. We, as His kingdom ambassadors, cannot shy away from the complicated mess of broken humanity - particularly our own - but can learn to navigate it with Him in a way that leads to Holy Spirit filling and fruitful empowerment all to the glory of God.
In the coming months, I'd like to share some of the principles God taught me on my own journey through the darkness of my soul. By no means have I arrived at the end of my journey, but I am deeply grateful for the change that has already taken place as God's living Word is alive and active in me (Hebrews 4:12) and His grace all-sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9) to lead me from glory to glory and strength to strength (2 Corinthians 3:18).
I'm excited to walk alongside a generation of people who develop soul-intelligence, which is more than a good EQ, as well as a Spirit-intelligence that recognizes God's movements of grace in the inner crevices of the human soul.
We need to be healed in order to be filled and empowered for His amazing purposes.