The good news is that he came back.
Three days without sleeping, bingeing on crack, and reeking of sweat and smoke and piss.
But he came back.
And I had to tell him that he is no longer welcome here. The powers that be have decided that he isn’t following his plan adequately, so he has to go. We’re so glad you came back… now pack your bags and get out of here. It makes no sense to me. No sense at all. Yet he is the third youth that we’ve treated this way in as many weeks. And it breaks my heart.
But I’m glad that I was the one who told him. Because I’m letting him go to his room. I’m letting him take a shower and sleep here for one more day. I’m letting him know, as best as I can, that he is beloved, that he has a hard battle ahead of him but that the odds are not insurmountable, and there are people here that are committed to him.
I give him a hug and tell him there’s hope and he stuffs his hands in his pockets and heads to his room.
It’s hard to look into the eyes of a person who has just been shattered. It’s hard to stare hopelessness, shame, and brokenness in the face. But I have no choice. Again and again I sit and gaze upon the sufferings of those I love, knowing full well that I cannot heal their wounds or wipe away their tears. So I direct their cries to God and wonder how long we have to endure these things before our groans reach heaven and cause God to remember how much he abhors injustice and slavery.
So, here it is, God. Another groan, another cry. How long until you will see, hear, remember and come down?
Elijah mocks Baal for not hearing the groans of those who seek him. Perhaps Baal is asleep, perhaps he’s indisposed. But the Lord God is not like Baal, or so Elijah tells us. The Lord God hears and answers. The Lord God comes down.
And so, O Lord, I wonder why it seems like you are playing the role of Baal. Once again my prayers go unanswered and another child is lost.
But I keep on groaning to you anyway. I keep on praying and crying out. I keep on declaring that you, Lord God, are the Lord of all, full of mercy and abounding in love. I know that you have nothing in common with Baal even though I don’t understand the difference sometimes. Because, honestly, sometimes I don’t know if I need to repent because I have accused you, or ask you to repent because you stand by and do nothing for so many, even though we beg you to do something. And so, until you come, I will speak, I will groan, I will cry out. I will not put my hand over my mouth.