I was listening to a podcast recently, when the host talked about having “outrage fatigue.” He said he felt like every morning he woke up and checked Twitter, almost as if he was trying to figure out what he was supposed to be angry about that day. There was a weariness to the persistent anger and despair of the world. That idea of “outrage fatigue” resonated with me. In our culture of a constant media cycle, we are inundated with stories that are phrased to incite an emotional response.
We are surrounded by the sin of this world. There is racism and hate, poverty and greed, violence and war, and each one is a product of the systematic brokenness of man. I am often overwhelmed by the darkness and skeptical that the light could ever penetrate such endemic sin. In these times I often turn to the Psalms. I find David calling on God to deliver him from his enemies. I find psalmists writing about the captivity in Babylon. I find an oppressed and straying Israel being called back by the Lord. In the midst of all of this, a joy is expressed. A joy that is not killed by captivity, or false accusations, or evil men. It is not overcome by wicked ways or powerful rulers. It is a joy that rests in the Lord and his promises. Psalm 126 says, “The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like streams in the Negev. Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.” Joy is the cure for “outrage fatigue.”
We need to respond to the evil of our day. We need to respond to the brokenness of man, and come to the aid of the disenfranchised, the poor, and the weak. And yet, the constant news stories of poverty, murder, rape, torture, and greed, are hard to bear and we can’t do it on our own. Come to the feet of Jesus, lay it down, and return with songs of joy. It isn’t about walking away from, numbing out to, or ignoring our problems, but rather allowing God to carry the burden so that we can act out of his love.