Holding Tension

It strikes me how much tension is in the world. It’s hard to contain sometimes. If you sit with two people in conflict, sometimes you feel like you’re going to burst. It’s all you can do to stand up to it. We all have people in our lives who are in conflict with one another. (Lately it has seemed like our whole country has been in conflict!) The easiest thing to do when you are in the middle is side with one against the other: “They are wrong and we are right!” If you love them both, however, that is not a choice you get to make. You mostly just want to see them stop fighting and be nice to each other. Unless you want to be drawn into conflict, too, the only thing you can do is absorb it. That means you hold the tension. You become a conduit – not a fun thing to do. It’s painful. It seems to take all the strength you have sometimes. You want the people you love to be at peace with one another.

I think about how much tension God holds. He loves both the murderer and his victim. Can you imagine? If you know someone who has been severely injured by another, it is so much easier to hate the perpetrator and have compassion on the victim. Or, sometimes you side with the perpetrator and have compassion on him, but it is hard to love both at the same time. God loves both of them equally at all times! He holds all the tensions in the world between all the disparate parts. And how does he deal with them? He lays down his life and absorbs them. And he waits. He is not deterred, nor is he worried. He knows there is a time when all things will come together. I can’t even forgive one person. God can bring all things together.

Some might think God is weak if he doesn’t act. I don’t think so. His strength is in his patience and tolerance of all of this tension. God, through his love, is able to reconcile victim and perpetrator. There will come a time when all things will be at peace. I don’t know how that looks exactly, but I know it’s coming.