Doing the right thing in the modern world is full of challenges and difficulties: we struggle with our own limitations while being bombarded with troubles from all quarters. A globalized world with inputs from all quarters is sometimes too much to take. Disasters, politics, wars, hatred, death, injustice: what can one person or a group do with all this?
Even in the smaller world of our inner selves, there is too much. We struggle to be the people we know we ought to be, and sometimes when we are at our best, we come within sight of the mark, but the demand is relentless: we know we need to be our best selves even when we are at our worst. Our worst is sometimes pretty awful, and we are well aware of it. The saints seem impossibly holy all the time, and we ourselves seem so far from the standard they have set.
Where is Jesus in all this? Sometimes he feels so far away, and the troubles in the world and the flaws in ourselves feel so close. The need to “do something” seems overwhelming, yet at the same time it seems impossible to do anything. Jesus can do something, can’t he? Why doesn’t he? But he seems silent.
At times like this, it is easy to discount Jesus and conclude that we’re alone in our troubles. When there is nothing useful that can be done, or the little we can do is so obviously inadequate, we suffer: fear, anxiety, anger, frustration eat us up from the inside.
At such times, remember this: Jesus may be silent, but he is not absent. He acts in his own way, in his own timing. Do your part as best you can, and call to him, be persistent in prayer. Then wait for him to act. Do not forget that Jesus is someone who wins in unexpected ways: God born in a stable and laid in an animal trough, the King of kings became a child refugee fleeing murderous persecution. Growing up in obscurity, Jesus became a compelling speaker of saving truth, healer of the weak and wounded, who even raised the dead to new life. He stood up to the rich and powerful, reached out to the powerless, spoke the truth and was brutally executed for it. But his enemies could not keep him dead: he rose up unexpectedly in new life, irrepressible, victorious. Life springing up, even out of death and disaster: that is Jesus’ way. Call to him, wait for him, trust in him, do not let the limits of your own imagination limit what he can do. He is not constrained by the conventional. Do not be panicked by the urgency of a problem into a rash assumption that Jesus is not engaged and you are alone in your situation. Do your part, yes, and be persistent in prayer, but for the rest, be patient, know he is engaged even if you do not see it, and wait for the Lord.
© Agapios Theopilus, 2016