I’ve been overwhelmed lately! The news of terrorism, both on our own soil and abroad, is frightening. I think about what kind of world we live in where we have suffered through so much war and suffering, so much hatred and violence. I read the news, and then I just have to lay it down for a while. It is just too overwhelming.
Today I was reading more stories, and I was just getting more overwhelmed. Then I realized (almost out of the blue) that I have an answer to the all this evil perpetrated in our world from our own local and national politics all the way to genocide and oppression in their most dramatic forms. The answer is simple really … the answer is Christ.
Many years ago, I remember hearing Cristy Lane singing One Day a Time, and I still think of her words: “it’s worse now than then.” And during my youth, when that song was first released, I accepted that as truth. But as I have studied more about the life of Israel and the ancient world … the stories of Babylonian, Assyrian and Roman oppression … the stories of the world into which Jesus was born, lived and died … the stories of the martyrs of the early church … and many other stories through the years, I am no longer convinced that it is “worse now than then.” We may have developed more sophisticated ways to kill more people faster, but the brutality and cruelty coded into the human condition is not something new to us.
So my question is pretty simple: How did our ancestors of the faith live through the overwhelming evil of their time? How do we have this recollection of those eras in our collective story as somehow better?
And the answer that quickly springs to my mind is that our spiritual ancestors somehow conquered all that was bad with something that was good … not just good, but very good! And what is that thing that is good? It is none other than God! Through the power of God’s grace, the people who have faced the most horrific acts inflicted by fellow human beings have somehow come to the realization there is still something good within us … something that contains God’s image … something God called “very good.”
So yes, it is very easy to get overwhelmed by all that is bad in our world, but today … at least for today … I am not letting that get me down. That is because I know how the story turns out. As a friend used to say to her church when people would gain a new interest in all the atrocities and bloodshed depicted in the Revelation to John at the end of our Bible, “Don’t get overwhelmed by the bloody images and the gory details because, in the end, God wins!”
Isn’t that the fundamental message we proclaim as Christians? No matter what we face in the world … not matter how bad we experience these harsh realities (even those things beyond our control) … God wins. And God wins, not through violence or sword or might, but through grace.
So my question is how I might infuse a little grace in the world today. What simple act can I do that will demonstrate God’s love and grace today? It might be for a person who is likewise overwhelmed with all the bad in their own world, or it might be someone who has simply given up hope in our current political realities. Whatever their reality, my plan today is to bring a simple act of grace wherever I can.
And if we all agreed that perhaps we could, likewise, share the grace of Christ, then maybe … just maybe … the world would be overwhelmed with grace!