That’s a Salvadoran slang phrase that basically means that it’s complicated. It’s messed up, and it’s tough to sort out.
We use that phrase a lot around our office, and that’s because almost every one of our clients comes to us with layers of complication. Poverty, violence, systems that are practically rigged against them. Here is a glimpse…
There is the boy coming to New Dawn because gangs threatened his life back in his hometown. He had to flee and he fled to the streets of San Salvador. Life on the streets is hard…abuse and addiction soon become the cycle that he can’t escape.
There is the man who was traumatized as a child, and eventually turned to alcohol. Over time, he lost his wife, his job, his sense of dignity. He committed a crime, went to jail. He wants to get clean, but it’s hard as he fights the depression that lingers from the unresolved trauma, and the estrangement from his family. Adding to the struggle is the fact that he can’t find a job because of his criminal record.
There is the girl who was sold for sex as a teenager by her own relatives. She dreams of finding safety, and longs for peace. She’s scared to speak out against her family because she doesn’t want to lose the only sense of belonging she’s ever had.
Yes, it’s complicated, but the story isn’t over. It’s a mess, but there is beauty to be found in the dirtiest ashes. Our hearts hurt, but there is a purpose to the pain because it drives us right to the very heart of God, and He calls out to us in His own words:
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen; to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter – when you see the naked to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.” (Isaiah 58:6-8)
He wants us in there…fasting, loosing chains, breaking and untying yokes, sharing, providing, clothing, and setting the oppressed free. There is sacrifice, and there is pain but there is healing in it. When we roll up our sleeves and get in there with people we draw close to God’s heart.
The verse talks about breaking yokes, but also about light breaking forth. God works in us as we work with Him and His light breaks out like a brilliant sunrise. Even as we ache to free the oppressed, our very own healing appears and God Himself is with us.
The world is a complicated mess. There are hearts that hate, and there are souls bent on evil, and there is darkness. But there is light. There is life, and healing, and freedom to be found. How wonderful it is to meet God in the midst of that mess, and to nod our heads and get to work one complicated day at a time.