I cannot sleep tonight. I went to bed fully intending to get a good nights rest and wake up bright and early tomorrow morning. But as I lay there sleep evaded me. So I arose and turned on the television in hopes that it would put me to sleep. Three hours and one whole season of a show later, here I am.
I watch this silly show on Hulu called Rev. It is an odd comedy about a Vicar of the Church of England who runs a failing church in the inner city. We follow his slightly ridiculous life, and listen to his prayers to God. He struggles with his faith, and he gets into trouble, and he struggles everyday. While there are parts of the show that are obviously silly and parts that are probably a bit irreverent, I enjoy it because it shows the struggle Christians are all afraid to admit they have. It shows a Vicar who is supposed to be a shining example of God, who struggles in his faith, just like the rest of us. Tonight I watched the entire last season of it in my restlessness.
In the last episode of the series Pastor Adam has found himself without a church, and subsequently, without a purpose. He goes into a deep depression which in itself was very hard to watch since the show has always been rather light hearted. But there was a scene that just absolutely smacked me upside the head. While usually the viewer is privy to the private prayers of Adam, in this particular scene, we become privy to his wife’s prayers. She prays for her husband and for guidance, then we hear the prayers of the Arch Deacon who is so often the antagonist to Adam as he asks God why people don’t seem to understand or like him very much, we hear the prayers of Adam’s second at the church as he tries to reassure himself it wasn’t his fault the church failed, and we hear the prayers of a Collin the homeless church goer who prays for his family, wherever they might be, Adam and his wife, and for the woman he once loved providing that she isn’t already gone. As I watched this I began to cry. Now me crying at a television show or a movie or a book or a…well you get the point, is not a new concept. I cry all the time, I’ve already confessed that. But this was different. I wasn’t just crying because the characters I love were hurting, I was crying because the weight of their prayers was so unbearable.
There is a common saying amongst those who believe in God; “Break my heart for what breaks Yours..” The idea of this phrase, or prayer, is that we ask God to show us what breaks His heart, make us aware of it, and break ours also so that we may start to fix the brokenness of the world. While I think this is an admirable prayer, and while I pray quite often myself, I’m not sure a lot of us fully understand what we are asking.
I am often overwhelmed by my sadness or frustration at the tragedy of our world., but for some reason tonight the weight of the prayers of four fictional people just crushed me. We ask God to let us see with His eyes, to break our hearts, but if the sadness that God feels over our suffering is even close to what I felt tonight (and I imagine it must be so much worse) I don’t know that we could handle it if indeed God ever really decided to reach down and say “Here, feel what I feel, see what I see.” There is a great scene in the movie Bruce Almighty where Bruce receives a desperate prayer from the woman he loves as she cries out to God in her sadness and pain. Bruce is overwhelmed by the pain the person he loves the most in the world is feeling and is desperate to fix it anyway he can. If one human being can be so sad over the suffering of one other human being that they love, how much more must God feel the suffering of millions of His children.
I can’t be completely sure what God is speaking to me tonight, but then again when can we ever be completely sure of anything when it comes to God? What I do know is that as I prepare to leave for Europe in the next two weeks I should always remember that I am there to be used by God for His purpose and to see His children as He sees them, and love them as He loves them, which is no easy feat. I think tonight He showed me that inside we are all hurting and praying for something. We all have a prayer. And that I should remember that, and let my heart break for His children, and let it motivate me in my journey, but don’t let it cripple me in the purpose He has sent me.
So I guess what I’m saying is that I’m glad God gives us compassion, and I’m glad He gives us insight into what needs our time and love, but I am also glad that He helps us carry the burden, because we simply couldn’t do it alone. You wanna know how I know God is divine and that we can never be like Him? Because I could never be in that much pain all the time. I would shut down and stop caring. But God is always there, day and night, all the time to guide us and love us and help us carry our burdens. He never stops caring.