Gandhi once said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world!”
And, truly, God bless the fixers in this world because there are so many big problems out there that need solving.
There are children who need to be feed– if only someone will figure out the resources of how to get them food.
There are elderly who are literally dying to know that somebody cares about them– if only someone could motivate those of us with extra time to be moved in their direction.
There are diseases in certain parts of the world that could be prevented– if only someone could move better medical care in their direction.
But, what about those problems in the world which you and I have no control to fix even if we want to?
What about those problems that though we put all our might, all our effort, all our prayers toward, nothing seems to change?
What do we do then?
Such is a terrible plight for the best fixers among us.
It’s terrible to want to “be the change” only to find yourself hitting wall after wall after wall of failed efforts.
I write this because I often try to be a fixer. And I know the pain of delayed expectations. The pain of knowing that as much as I want to fix something for myself or for someone I care about– I can’t.
We all hate this hard truth of life: we’re not in control.
As much as I want to, I can’t make a job to come out of thin air for my unemployed friend.
I can’t take way the cancer diagnoses for that 12-year-old girl who I adore!
I can’t re-write laws in countries which are unjust, keeping essential resources away from the most vulnerable who need them the most.
I can’t spark joy into the lives of my friends who are weighed down in a season of life of funeral after funeral.
I can’t. And it’s so frustrating!
But what I can do is be is right where I am. I can be right where my loved ones are. I can stand with them in the midst of our unknowing. I can sit with my grief and theirs too, if I’m invited.
And I can live with the discomfort– not run from it.
Yet, it’s so easy for a “fix it” mentality to set in, though. Before we know it, we’re saying:
“Oh, let’s find a 3rd opinion and a 4th for that timeline of death”
“Oh, let’s send out twenty more resumes and re-write 20 more versions of your cover letter.”
“Oh, let’s fill up the days with appointments and evenings with parties– all of my time should be filled!”
But, such I believe would not be the way of our God, our God who tenderly wants to welcome the brokenhearted into loving arms and say, “Peace be still.”
For I believe that God calls us to live with our discomfort.
Not as punishment. Not as a fear producing exercise. But as an expression of our faith.
Because sometimes, the BEST things happen when we have no idea where we are or where we’re going next. And as we give our pain time to move through us.
And I believe that God calls us to stand in the middle of discomfort and believe something good is coming.
One of my favorite scriptures comes from Exodus 14. Moses and the Israelites found themselves at a pretty desperate place too.
They’d only just left Egypt after 400 years of slavery and Pharoah was on their tail. Moses felt beside himself in worry with so much responsiblity on his shoulders. He could not see a way forward! And, he cries out to God for help.
And this is what he hears: “The Lord will fight for you; you only need to stand still.”
Or in other words, “Live with the discomfort, Moses! And let Me be in charge.”
So wherever you find yourself today, hear me preaching to me and preaching to you: help is always on the way! This trust is what faith is all about.