I never once considered the after effects of the whole sitting on the ground throwing dirt on yourself and mourning for something like they did in the bible. But let me tell you - I don't know how they did it.
Quite recently, instead of bible study we ended up talking about several people who were facing some very hard times. It was difficult to listen to, but worth it.
I managed to not cry.
That is, until we bowed our heads to pray - and it was then that my heart started breaking for these people.
That prayer was my embarrassing undoing.
Right after it, crazily enough a couple of even worse stories seemed to start just pouring out of one of the ladies until I was just sitting there shaking, with tears pouring down my cheeks and trying to figure out some way to not make a scene. I was the only one. Everyone else listened compassionately like the mature normal people that they are.
Literal sobs were trying to burst from me when, I confess, I started pushing an older lady out of the way so I could get out.
I didn't even make it to my car before the sobs burst out. I was desperate to make it home - less than a mile away - but ended up parking down the block from my house with my heart just ripping out to God. I pleaded with God for these people, these situations. Later on, I was absolutely spent. I was broke again. For the next couple of days my heart still felt sore, wary, as I remembered how much of me hurt for these people.
And then throughout the rest of the week I felt the prickles of shame as I worked to not think about them, because I knew I didn't want to break for them again.
It's taken me a week and a half to tell this story. And there is only one reason I'm telling it now. Even as I worked to toughen up some, to not think about it, I knew I was struggling against faith as well.
As much as I'd like to think it would... faith doesn't have me protect myself. Not like this. Faith simply trusts the Father of my heart to help me pick up the pieces when I mourn for His people. If I can mourn for His people to such a broken extent, how much more does He mourn for His people? And if My Father, my Jesus, would mourn like that then He can certainly be trusted to help me as I mourn as well.
It'd be easier to just block their situations from my mind. But faith, faith doesn't allow that. Faith continually tells me that there is a God who can deliver the broken and hurting, the addicted and abused, the hopeless and the despairing. Faith tells me that, amazingly enough the God who can deliver, the God who can save, pays attention to me when I cry out to Him on these other peoples behalf. Faith tells me that my heart, my prayers, my words, can change things.
Faith tells me that the God who picked me up and set my feet on the solid rock - can do exceedingly and abundantly beyond what I can ask or think according to the power that worketh in us.
I believe that's why sometimes faith becomes a hard decision. Sometimes faith just comes naturally in some situations. But other times, you have to choose faith. When looking at the choice between not hurting over someone, and having faith that your hurt and prayer can change things - you have to make a choice.
And faith is always the right choice. Even when you're broken and soggy and spilling out all over your kleenex. Because faith changes things. Faith moves things. Faith brings victory where defeat has already been declared.
Faith is enough. More than enough.