We far too often think that we are master’s of our own destinies. We think that we set the direction of ‘things to come’ and that we can navigate the future. We say to people, “Stay well” as though we can will a bacteria or virus out of our system or we say, “safe travels” as though we can magically make the roads safe.
The truth is that we have little control over ‘the things to come.’ I’m not trying to be a pessimist, but we need to keep in mind our place in this universe. We aren’t gods, you see, we are human beings. We can’t see around corners, we can’t peer into the future, and, no matter what greatness we attribute to ourselves, we cannot help that bad things will sometimes happen.
As a person of faith I have to know that I cannot control the world I live in, my own future, or other people (that last one is an important lesson, btw). What I can control is how I react to others and how I react to what happens to me.
Okay, so my title reminds us that I can do things to keep myself healthy and I probably engaged in some risky behaviors that exposed me to sickness during these past couple of weeks since my surgery, but I didn’t ‘get myself sick.’ Sickness happened and now my body is reacting.
Christians need to keep this in mind as they go through life. There are Christians who act with hate and malice as they go through life trying to control the actions of others and trying to make everyone act the way they think ought to be. What do I mean? You need look no further than a Christian woman holding a picture of a fetus, or as members of Westboro Baptist Church (Fred Phelps and his gang) picket a funeral.
Christians far too often think that they can will the world into being what they want it to be. They believe that they can force others to act the way they want them to act, but ladies and gentlemen: We are not gods. We do not control fate. We are not masters of our own destinies. We are flawed and fragile human beings but we do have control over how we react to this world and the people in it.
Christ always acted out of love, when we look at scripture. He didn’t buy into the legalism of his day, but he witnessed to people by showing them that he cared. There would sure be a lot less abortions in our country if these holier-than-thou folks holding picket signs would take the hand of a young girl and walk along with her. There would sure be a lot less murder and crime if church people didn’t just pass the rough parts of town, but got involved with troubled teens. We can’t improve education by passing a new piece of legislation, but we can get our hands ‘dirty’ and go out into our communities and start working with children.
We live in an imperfect, messed up, out-of-balance world. We live in a world we cannot control, yet when we are reminded of our place in the world, we acknowledge that there is hope through our God and our relationship with God. We can take our faith and make a difference in the lives around us. My body is reacting to the flu -or whatever got into my system. Let us act like my immune system. Let’s take a look at the world around us and let’s begin the process of healing and restoration. It won’t happen without us getting our hands dirty. It can’t happen from a distance or by writing a check or authoring a congressional bill…but it can happen.