Friday

what's the opposite of impotent?

My inability to fix all the hurt in the world is a frustrating limitation. I realize with alacrity that I am not God. And I trust that He knows what He's doing and loves people far better than I. So this is not about His not being active or any other such balderdash.

But I utterly hate seeing hurting people. Or people who have been crapped on by life again and again. And sometimes again. Certainly some people are victims of their own stupidity and arrogance. But some people just have harder lives than others. My language teacher, for instance, Edna, has had a much harder life than me. Most Guatemalans have had a much harder life than me. Most people in the world. Actually, if I added in the populace of history I would be in the most wealthy, well educated, healthy and peace guarded group. Top .01% for sure. Take the bed I sleep in every night - just a normal bed - is more luxurious than what anyone slept in up until a few decades ago.

And yet I cannot fix things.

I cannot take hurt away. I cannot look at people I love and make everything ok. I can point them to Jesus who makes everything ok. And, of course, that's far better than anything I could do. I can point but I can't make them go. And so I remain frustrated in my impotence. I'm not sure if I would be less frustrated were I potent nor am I even sure what that means. Maybe impotence is the wrong word. Limited is better. Bounded, finite, restricted.

Can you imagine what Christ felt like? Fully God and Fully Man. Self-limited to demonstrate His love for us. And yet I dont' think He was frustrated. God is never impotent. Does He get frustrated? Surely not like I do. I get frustrted because I cannot do something. God would never get frustrated like that. My limitations are not self-imposed. They are God imposed. One of the chief tenants of life is that I am not God. It's like saying, "this is water" to a fish. It's my environment.

And I'm not saying I want to be God or like God either. I really don't. I would do a crappy job. My frustration lies on longing for what should be and what will be but not resting in what is. Jesus said, "behold I will be with you, even to the end of the age." That means now. In what is. In frustration and discouragement. Even though I cannot fix hurting people. Christ has enabled me to love them. I reckon that will have to do for now.

3 comments:

Zach said...

I thought this post was going to be about something else.


I take comfort in God's promise that everything will turn out ok. Every hardship and suffering will be either graciously compensated for, or unfortunately deserved. In the end, when you take into account both temporal and eternal history, there will be far more good than evil. I actually find that comforting even though it's not so much a "what about right now" answer. It helps me accept the "right now" that I see.

brian said...

Agreed agreed.

I think that's one thing that makes being in that 0.01% of privilege in one way sort of more difficult.

We're *used* to being able to affect our environment and our situation.

Hungry? Wander on down to the nearest food joint. Worse, not even just what's near.. whatever sort of food you want is at your disposal. Whatever your whim.

Sleepy? A safe dry bed isn't far.

Bored? Any number of distractions - digital or for real are ready to entertain you.

And yet when there is something out of your control happening to you or a loved one.. Man. 'Impotent' is right. You once had power and now you have *nothing*. And you really really want to be able to have that power over whatever it is that hurts.

The only upside of bad stuff like this happening is (as you mentioned) it can serve to remind you how little you really do control in the big picture and Who is really in control.

Though, as Zach points out, sometimes that doesn't help the pain that is right here right now so much.

bah.

Brandon and Jenny said...

Hah. No problems there at this point in time.

Zach, looking to the future does indeed bring comfort for now. And it's a reminder i needed. I've never thought about my frustration stemming from normally being able to control things, Brian. Very insightful of you both. Thank you. Too bad we can't sit around and talk like this . that would Rock.