I have been feeling rather overwhelmed with all the horrors that are coming to light lately. The child abuse and grooming scandals, conflict escalation in Gaza and Palestine, Islamic State. Evil is powerful and present and the little I can do seems very little indeed.
At times like this it’s hard to remember that good is powerful too. We’re conditioned to think of good as soft, accommodating, gentle. And it can be. The phrase ‘Soft power’ might have been coined about the influence of good people and of God in the world. There is immeasurable value in the people who deal gently with the wounded and disturbed and who push for reform through personal influence.
But when we see the kind of horrors and grinding indignities that are so highlighted at the moment we can feel that goodness and God are helpless before them.
It is important to remind ourselves that there is also a less gentle, firmer form of good. The goodness that is active and vibrant and energetically transformative. The goodness that is unexpected and dramatic. The goodness that created the peaceful transition to an apartheid free South Africa or the cleansing of the Temple.
We have to hope for this kind of unexpected intervention as much as the slow process of healing and the soft touch. To do otherwise is to sink into hopelessness and miss the chance to be an agent for good and an agent for God.