I open my computer and scroll through my Facebook feed. My heart sinks and my body feels physically heavy.
People killing animals
Animals killing children
Rants and blog responses and hateful comment threads
I usually avoid throwing myself into the middle of controversies.
I avoid publicly taking sides.
I pray in the name of everything good and holy and right to please, Dear God, bring comfort, peace, and love to those who are suffering.
But it is all weighing on me, like the internet is throwing bricks at me and screaming, “Catch! I’ve got another one for ya!”
And I want to just stop catching. I want to drop all the bricks and say, “Really, I can’t handle any more. Stop the world. I want to get off.”
The bad news isn’t even personal (I’ve got enough personal baggage in my corner too!) but it all gets heavy after a while, doesn’t it?
I think it’s because I don’t know what to do with the knowledge of all this suffering.
In this Internet age, the knowledge of the world’s suffering has created a type of omniscience that was unprecedented in previous generations.
In a way, the internet allows us to “Play God” in our knowledge of the world. Our knowledge is unlimited, but it’s overwhelming.
Sometimes I feel like I pray just to relieve the burden of my highly emphatic nature, that somehow praying peace for a suffering soul will also soothe my own troubled spirit.
Suffering begs for a response. It is a God-given gift to feel compassion for the suffering of another. I want to be like Jesus when he saw the crowds and had compassion for them (Matthew 9:36).
But is it possible to get Compassion Fatigue for the world, where you care and pray and read and give money and pray some more and feel helpless and just want to stop caring so much?
I don’t want to get to that place but I feel like I am slipping. I have felt really down for the past few weeks, for complex reasons, but I think part of my depressed mood is an emotional reaction to the suffering that seems to inundate us on a daily basis.
I keep looking and praying for answers, for something to do that I am not doing.
Maybe there isn’t an answer.
Maybe our response to suffering is simply to groan with all creation for redemption, to weep with those weep, to pray for strength to keep doing good.
I genuinely want to know: How should we respond to the suffering that we are flooded with via the media on a daily basis?
How do you hold on to hope and fight the darkness?