This post scares me. That’s how I know I need to write it.
We talk a lot about giving our troubles to God, about trusting God, about how having faith in God can change our lives. Many of us pray to God for favors as small as letting our team win, or as big as delivering us from a cancer diagnosis, or anything in between.
Faith and prayers are comforting. They can be useful to us. Maybe they improve our prospects for the day we face judgment. None of us really knows one way or another.
What’s not useful–to you or me or anybody else–is to move forward with a by-the-numbers life of accumulating as much as we can while praying for (and otherwise ignoring) everybody around us.
What’s not useful is to decide someone isn’t worthy of help (except for prayers for them to “get better”) because their mind is broken, or because they love the wrong person, or because they don’t read the same holy book we do.
What’s not useful is to complain about (and pray about) injustices on the other side of the world when we’re not willing to speak up about an injustice in our own family, or our own office, or our own neighborhood.
What’s not useful is to complain about (and pray about) what the president, or congress, or those crazies in California or Oregon or Charleston, did this time when we’re not willing to reflect on what we did wrong yesterday.
See, God doesn’t feed the homeless, or find work for single mothers. God doesn’t build schools or shelters or hospitals or churches. God doesn’t dig wells or plow fields or plant crops or teach people how to do those things.
God tells us, if we listen, what right and wrong are. But He doesn’t stop us from doing wrong, or force us to do right.
God doesn’t give us the power to turn dials and change everyone else’s hearts right now. He gives us the power to set examples and change a few hearts, very close to us, very slowly. He gives us the power to create tiny ripples in the vast ocean of humanity, and sometimes allows those ripples to become waves.
God doesn’t give us the power to do everything. Instead, He gives us the power to do a little bit at a time, day after day. He doesn’t stop others from undoing our work. He doesn’t guarantee results. All He does is guarantee there will be work to do, and maybe help us see when we have an opportunity to take action.
Because fixing the world is not God’s job.