This school year I have felt more large-scale evil happening around me than ever before. A former co-worker was killed in the Vegas shooting, a family I know well lost their house in the Santa Rosa fires...this in addition to the normal daily and systemic challenges faced by the families in our Kids Hope program.
Some days it took work to remember that good is happening all around us too. I’ve had to train my eyes to look for that good, and train my heart to remember that ultimately our God is a God of justice; a justice that, try as we may, we cannot humanly administer. We cannot fix the evil in the world, and the powerlessness of that is hard for me. But that’s where our faith has to become both past-oriented (what God has done) and future-oriented (what He has promised to do). He is not usually working in our timing, and not in our way, which can be frustrating…but this is the “already and not-yet” of the gospel that we live into with our very lives. This may be why I love the season of Advent...it's the season where we collectively acknowledge that we are waiting here, actively waiting, for the day when every thing will be made right.
These are mysterious and profound things, and yet I’m reminded that in the face of evil, as Christians we’re called to show up for the voiceless and disenfranchised. To me that's the active part of waiting. Yes we do what we can, but sometimes in the face of immense challenges the most real and godlike thing to “do” is to “be with”…so that the voiceless know that they matter. So that that the disenfranchised know that that they matter; the homeless, the immigrant, the children…we can’t fix the lives of all the kids and families we serve. And yet we can release immense amounts of power in being with them, in showing up every week, in bringing hope and kindness into our classroom.
People need to know in their suffering that they matter and that they’re heard. There is great healing and power in knowing we’re not alone, in “being with”. And if we believe Jesus was truly human, I’ve heard it said that He holds His humanity throughout all eternity…that is also our calling and that is our power as we wait actively for the King of Kings to be born anew…we keep showing up, in our humanness, in our powerlessness, and remember together that evil does not have the last word.
"The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it". -John 1:5