Hope is born in the shade, when the absence of light might otherwise leave us stunted. Instead, the darkness propels us to seek out bright spots, to find those places, however narrow, where the sunlight can break through.
Regardless of our circumstances, whenever we ask the question, where is God in [cancer, divorce, recession, pandemic, hurricane, systemic racism, terrorism]?, the answer is always HERE. God’s enduring presence is a promise I’ve clung to again and again. But there’s another side of God’s presence that can be hard for people, that can be hard for me. If God is with us in [cancer, divorce, recession, pandemic, hurricane, systemic racism, terrorism], then why isn’t he doing anything about it?
When we make ourselves vulnerable to the presence of another, we don’t always emerge unscathed. Changed, yes. Encouraged and uplifted and bolstered in our hope, sometimes. But also bruised and wounded, all too often.
Sometimes, the work required in our lives after a sudden change is simply to clean up and take inventory. To begin the treatment, to bury the dead, to board up the windows, to bandage the wounds. The work that comes next is usually the harder work: to allow the change to transform us in love.
The last place many of us look for change is the kind that affects entire communities or cities or nations, large-scale change to correct societal or generational failures. It’s the kind of change that takes the most work because it doesn’t just change me on the inside or outside. It does both and for all of us.
Could there be more to Jesus’ words about childlike faith than just an openness to mystery and astonishment?