“Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him;
do not fret over those who prosper in their way,
over those who carry out evil devices.
Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath.
Do not fret—it leads only to evil.”
There are many passages in the Bible (such as Psalm 37) where we hear promises of God’s wrath coming to people and nations that are evil. In the past, these lines have made me feel very uncomfortable. Where is the God of second chances? Where is mercy and forgiveness and grace? In recent months we have been learning a lot about power and the structures that govern our communities. There have been anguished calls to Social Services that haven’t produced any action. We’ve volunteered at food banks where we’ve told people what over-processed canned goods they are allowed to receive for their supposed nourishment. We’ve had to use titles and influence to get answers for people who aren’t respected enough to receive basic housing information. We’ve experienced these, and many other frustrations with organizations and structures that are meant to help the poor and vulnerable in our midst.
As we come closer to those in our lives and in our neighbourhood who are trying to navigate crises and get the help they need, I’m beginning to understand the need to leave the wrath up to God. In no way does this mean that there is nothing to do. I think that as we see our system being overwhelmed with issues and as we see a rise in the needs of our population, we need to reevaluate the Churches’ role in the community.
There is no lack of programs or organizations that are trying their best to help. But who is going to journey with the 15 year old who just started on her methadone treatments? Who is going to help the depressed and anxious fill out forms to access counseling services?
If it were just up to us we would despair. We would fret. We would give up on the system and maybe even give up on people. But it is up to God. So we keep heading out the door realizing in each situation how privileged we are that God has given us new friends who trust us with the big and little things in their lives. New friends to share life with and to wait with as we seek patiently the Lord’s coming into our broken midst.