I am getting tired of repeating myself, I feel like I have been stuck on the same few topics for an entire year. The same events seem to generate the same headlines and I write the same replies week after week and month after month. And frankly sometimes it is tiring; I am completely frustrated as I watch Christians interact with society. How long can we complain about rights, wrongly place our hope in government, and fail to speak out on issues of justice and conserving creation? I repeatedly ask myself if my words are at all meaningful, am I having the least impact on society, or am I simply wasting my time in this effort? I am not so ignorant as to believe my words have a major impact on the lives of others, but I do like to think that in reading my words a small few take an extra moment to consider what they believe and how they relate to the world. Even with this limited vision in front of me I still become mired in the despair of the our never changing society. Honestly, the last month has been discouraging as I come to write and as I ponder headlines the same few pop up for my critique.
My attitude changed somewhat this week when I came upon a quote from C. S. Lewis, who usually has a habit of helping me see the world in a fresh light.
“Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different?”
― C.S. Lewis
Obviously, Lewis is here referencing how one’s does not seem to show progress until one views it from a distance. However, I think the same is true of societal change. We do not see how our society is moving or developing while we are involved in today’s controversies, it is only as we gain hindsight that we are able to truly have a balanced perspective. Change, true lasting change, takes place over the course of time. A small unyielding rock can change the course of a river or glacier but either will be far beyond the rock when the results are measurable. I find some measure of hope in this thought. Yes, I may repeatedly write on the same topics, but this repetition will have the result of sharpening the truth within my statements and reinforcing the message in others.
My voice does not have to be loud to help change the nature of society, but it must be both persistent and consistent. This is the nature of faith. I believe God wants to change this world; God wants to create a world where all creation lives in a healthy, peaceful, & just system. The basis for this faith is the promise of the Bible. My job is to consistently speak out to help make this new creation a reality. The promise of God’s new creation is my hope. So for me to have faith is to live out each day expecting that hope to become a reality and to encourage that reality at each opportunity I am presented.
Yes, I have grown discouraged by the fact that many Christians have been the source of problems in our society. I have grown frustrated with the fact that Christians have needlessly tarnished the faith over the past year. But, I also recognize that I am not always right; I find there are places where I need consistent correction, either because of my weakness or stubbornness. Lewis’ quote is a reminder to me that I do not always have the answer and that I am still a work in progress. Now, if this is true of me, then I must show some level of grace to others. Yes, I must continue to speak out for the truth as I see it, but I need to be understanding if they do not change at the first or second admonition.
To use Eugene Petereson’s phrase, change comes through a long obedience in the same direction. For me I have to stay patient, and continue to trust that people will hear, and society will be remade in God’s image. I long for the day when I look back to see how far my community has come (even the ones who are kicking and screaming the whole way). I want to look back someday and see the progress we have made in working with God. But, if I am going to enjoy such a moment I cannot grow tired, I must continue to press on, not because I believe I will be the influencer who will drive change; rather, because the only way I will enjoy the change is if I kept to the work. God will eventually put all things to right and it is my duty to help where I can.