It is fair to say that humanity on the whole is not enjoying its best moment.
We all experience difficult and dark moments. But for most us alive in this time, we have never experienced anything with such global reach. A time when the whole world is struggling and answers seem in short supply. The light that at the end of the tunnel we keep seeing has turned out to be the train on more than one occasion.
Seeds of division are strewn about. A spirit of fear and division seems to have taken over our collective consciousness.
It feels heavy. And let’s be honest – it is heavy.
Last December, I wrote a post called A Commodity in Short Supply. It focused on hope at a time defined by fear and uncertainty. Nine months later, it seems that we are still in search of it. Not only that, but as we have become more frustrated with the way things are going, anger and resentment has built. Polarization has become more prevalent.
There is political division, pandemic pressure, and cultural strife that has affected everyone. I am not immune to it. I have found myself feeling more fear, anxiety, and anger in the last eighteen months than I ever have before.
While I would like to believe that the end is in sight, I am sticking with a saying I adopted last year: Don’t pick a date. This is a defense mechanism – it feels pragmatic and limits disappointment. Yet there are still moments I cannot help but feel a sense of despair at it all. I do not like it. In these moments, I do not feel like me.
Over the last few weeks, in quiet moments of reflection, I realized something. In those moments of frustration and fear, it is not the external things that have caused me to feel uneasy.
It is because, in those moments, I have lost my anchor.
It is because I have forgotten that I am a son of a good Father. In those moments I have become distracted and have acted like an orphan. A child without a Father. Like a branch blowing in the breeze that forgot about the tree with deep roots it is attached to. If my perspective wobbles and I go to a place of having to figure it out on my own, it is no wonder that these feelings creep in.
Hope in Defense
As parents, it is natural to be concerned for our children’s future. I want the best for my children and I want them to become the people that they are created to be. Recently I found myself thinking about the type of world that they are growing up in. I caught myself feeling scared for them.
I wholeheartedly reject this line of thinking. In its worst form, you hear people say things like, ‘how could you bring a child into this world?’. As a friend of mine puts it, this is a lie from the pit of hell.
Why do I feel so strongly about this? It is because I have hope in the plan for my life. A plan that existed before I took a breath. There is a plan for each of us. Not everyone believes this and fewer still seek it out for their own lives. This does not change the fact that each of us is created with a specific purpose in mind.
I saw a post on Instagram last week that shared a quote from St. Joan of Arc:
Reading this post, I was jolted awake. I remembered in hope that no matter how desperate things get in the world, I was put here for this exact time. I do not have to live in fear.
Further, the same applies to my children. Yes, the uncertainty of the future can be scary. But to live in hope means to trust that they are also created for this moment to carry out a purpose. They are here for a reason and my job as a parent is not to hide them away and shelter them. My job is to help them find their path and prepare them for it. To teach them to hope in the plans for their own lives.
The Light Over the Hill
In a recent conversation with my wife, we were talking through some of our fears and anxieties. During this conversation, it occurred to me that this moment is temporary. Not just current events and struggles – everything. Everything we know in this life will someday fall away. This is not a resignation. It is a declaration of hope.
Beyond it all lies a promise. As a Christian, I believe the ultimate battle has already been won. For me and for you. When I keep my eyes fixed on what is beyond the challenges of today, it helps me maintain peace in the storm. To walk with joy and in security. To reject fear and despair.
It does not make life easier, but it makes how I experience life completely different. It opens me up to the graces I need to get through it all and to do so with a lighter heart.
There is pain and suffering along the way and there is no doubt that this period we are living in has provided a healthy dose of both. Yet when we look to Jesus, we see that even though the Cross is real, He has prevailed and something greater lies beyond. Because He did, it has been made available for us as well.
I believe that how we choose to react to the current times will have a lasting impact. Our lives will be directly affected, but our choices will stretch much further. For myself, as a parent of young children, how I choose to respond will shape how they see the world. I will not allow them to grow up with fear as the lens through which they see.
We have a choice. We cannot allow fear and division to rule.
I will not.
I will not accept a spirit of fear.
I will not accept a spirit of division.
I was born for this moment. I am not afraid.
I choose to hope in what lies beyond the horizon. I choose to anchor myself in relationship with the Father. I choose to live as a son.
I choose hope over fear.
A new day is coming. Look forward in hope.
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