God does not intend for government officials to become rich from exploiting those whom they govern.
God does not intend for police to selectively enforce laws for their benefit.
God does not intend for there to be skin whitening products for individuals who believe their dark skin is not a beautiful gift from God.
God does not intend for His children to be forgotten and their needs to be neglected.
God does not intend for children to be responsible for their siblings’ livelihood.
God does not intend for some of His children to go hungry and others to live in gluttony.
God does not intend for women to sell their bodies as their only means of provision.
God does not intend for marriage to be a result of rape.
These are snippets of stories from pamilya (family) I have lived with; pamilya who’ve loved me during my time here in Metro Manila. I Think for me, without a face paired with these tragedies, they’re just words on paper, but because I now know people who have fiercely struggled with oppression, I have been able to lament with greater intimacy. The spiritual discipline or lament helps us not to desensitize from the sin and brokenness of our world. I have learned that although God desires joy for His children, he doesn’t want us to forget or ignore the brokenness in our own lives, or even in the lives of people across the world. Inviting God into a space of brokenness and sin allows freedom, truth, and transformation.
I was quick to disconnect my own story of brokenness from my Filipino family because the circumstances appeared different, but when I fully allowed the living Spirit of God to work and reveal truth, He only revealed how similar our stories were. Both of our families generationally struggle with alcoholism, gambling, broken marriages, sexual exploitation of women to provide an income for their families, inadequate education, and dysfunctional family dynamics. Ironically, the same language that we speak is brokenness. For me, understanding what it means to healthily lament meant giving God an opportunity to birth something new in my life. Yes, I did grieve over the brokenness in my family which was almost a mirror image of my Filipino family, but I was also given instructions on how to be fruitful in the midst of chaos, beautiful chaos, as I’m soon heading home.
If God’s intentions are not for brokenness, then it must be for wholeness. How do we get there? It’s questions like this and others that we carry back to the States. They might not have answers yet, but they serve to remind us of God’s continual concern for restoration amongst the fragile and broken pieces in His Kingdom.