Enormity

The highway in front of me tonight is a dark seam through gray snow. Stars burn coldly in the black above. And I am feeling small.

It is partially the result of watching the animation of our plane slowly crawl across the globe on my flight back from Germany. But more, it is the accumulated sadness of back-to-back podcasts – my companions on long drives – focused on injustice. Malcolm Gladwell passionately outlined the long odds against underprivileged gifted students in America. Another show on the poor treatment of refugees was interrupted by alarm.

I turned off the radio and contemplated this feeling of insignificance.

How does one pray for problems so big? I picture trying to fill up a well by tossing in pebbles. I don’t even know how to frame a prayer to address the problem. Give hope to all those whose hope is dwindling?

And it seems shallow and insincere. If I’m not willing to work for change, how dare I pray! I feel like a fraud for offering my heavenward stammering as the tiniest of Band-Aids for such a gaping wound.

But I pray, reminding myself that this is what the psalmists did. They took the enormity of the need to an even greater God. That is always the start. I can certainly do more, but I must not do less.

If I am to feel small, let it not be because of the looming wrong, but because of the just God who overshadows it all.

 

Oh God, give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. Psalm 82:3–4

Bruce Van Patter

As a freelance illustrator, graphic recorder, and author, Bruce is on a lifelong journey to delight in the handiwork of the Creator. And he’s always ready for fellow travelers.

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