Everyone I know is in a “funk” right now. If you were to ask someone what this “funk” feels like, it’s symptoms are something like this: no energy, no motivation, and just a general feeling of disinterest and being ‘down.’ If you have two of more of these symptoms, you may too have caught the ‘funk’.
We Michiganders have fought through a dreary, wet, grey winter, and now have finally given into the seasonal depression that comes with literally zero sun. We are vitamin D deficient, and the grey weather has caused us to have a grey outlook on life.
On a more serious note though, the reason a lot of my Kalamazoo friends are experiencing a ‘funk’ isn’t just because of Michigan’s weather, it’s because our city was rocked with a tragedy last weekend. Early in the morning last Sunday, a man drove around Kalamazoo and shot eight innocent people, killing six.
I lied awake in terror watching the news that night. I had driven home late from a nanny job near the Cracker Barrel that the four women lost their lives at, later to find out I was driving the same roads as the killer during his shooting spree. I had almost gone out to the bars the shooter, an Uber driver, was driving people from. He was caught down the road from my home. I drive daily past the tragic scenes where people lost their lives and selfishly, I can’t help but think–that could have been me. Scoff all you want, but truthfully, at the randomness of the shootings, it really and truly could been me, or anyone I love in Kalamazoo.
Since the shooting, my outlook on the world has shifted. I vigilantly look around myself when I walk to my car from my house. I flinch at any loud noises and strain my ears for gunshots outside at night. My stomach churns anxiously when I hear sirens, wondering if it’s happening again, and if someone I love is in danger this time. Many friends have confided to me that they feel the same way.
All of this on top of many personal problems has caused me to surpass a ‘funk’ all together and feel downright depressed. I can’t sleep, I feel energy-less, I can’t get any school work done. I have reached a sadness deep enough to make me push God away. I don’t know what to say to Him anymore, because I don’t even know the source of my feelings. I fill my hands with fleshly, comforting activities, and turn my face from him to avoid looking to closely at the pain.
Bread of Life
In my season of pushing away God, of living in a seemingly de-saturated world, God is still speaking to me. I opened up to John 6 this week, and was hit by Jesus’ words to the crowds that pursue him after he miraculously feeds 5,000 men and their families. The crowds want Jesus’ miracles and gifts. They want free food. They are drawn to him with empty hands, hoping to get something from this guy who they heard can do miracles.
Jesus calls out the crowd in John 6: 26-27:
“Jesus answered, ‘Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.'”
How often is this me? I want food that spoils. I want relationships. I want career paths. I want more money, more security. I want more earthy cisterns that will hopefully fill my pain. The crowds similarly, were looking for things that spoil. Yet, regardless of their fickle, greedy hearts, Jesus directs them to what their aching hearts are truly looking for:
” Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.'”
“I see Jesus”
As I read this, the Holy Spirit brought me back to a story I had heard in Uganda. During my time in Uganda, I was blessed to meet many amazing missionaries. One missionary, Kathleen, had been a missionary for decades working with people with AIDS and HIV. During the 1960’s, she worked with orphans in Romania. At this time, children were left orphaned in the awful dumps around Romania. The children would scavenge for stale crusty bread because they had nothing else to eat. She said even after the children were brought to the orphanage, they would cling to moldy pieces of bread they had found in the dump for comfort. Kathleen told me this story of her time there:
‘Kathleen said she was falling asleep because she had worked multiple night shifts and was trying to stay awake as she was holding a dying five year old girl in her arms. Suddenly she heard clearly a voice that said: “Can’t you stay awake with me just one more hour?” Kathleen startled- suddenly wide awake. No one was in the room, and the five old had been unconscious for a day or so now. At that moment, the five year old wet herself, which usually signaled that she had died.
Then-the child moved. She sat up, opened her eyes, and looked towards the door. The child’s face suddenly filled with a look Kathleen said was indescribable. The child said, “Jesus! I see Jesus!” Kathleen looked to the door, but there was nothing there. But she knew, by looking at the child’s face lit with the most joy she has ever seen, that this child could see Jesus. The child said: “Jesus! Jesus! I see Jesus! He is holding bread in his hands. Please, let me go to Jesus.”
Upon remembering this story, tears ran from my eyes. That little orphan girl’s soul was hungry. She had seen more trauma than many adults, and had spent her life scavenging for moldy, stale bread just to survive. Yet, upon her death–she saw Jesus, the Bread of life, offering satisfaction for her hungry soul.
My soul is hungry. I am hungry for answers for what I am doing with my life. I am hungry for relationships that will never meet the standards I set with idolatrous intentions. I am hungry for peace. I am hungry for change in those I love. I am hungry for hope. I am hungry for comfort. I am hungry for satisfaction.
I try to stuff my stomach with stale, moldy bread to get the comfort and satisfaction I want. I try to work harder. I try to manipulate my relationships. I indulge in t.v., food, and sin and am still not satisfied.
But I look up, and see Jesus holding out bread to me. The Bread of Life is available to me right now, today. And God says if I partake in this bread of life, if I believe in Him, if I abide in this Bread of Life–I will never be hungry again for peace, for answers, for clarity, for comfort. I will never be thirsty for love, for worth, for intimacy.
No–I will be completely satisfied in HIM ALONE.
My brothers and sisters in Christ, there are many things in your life and in this world that will convince you that there is no hope for fulfillment and satisfaction, but that is a lie.
Whatever your soul longs for today, the Bread of Life is sitting right in front of you willing to satisfy. Will you take it?