The end of a previous blog post refers to a “new normal” that, by default, assumes a certain amount of guilt. The intent of this comment was not to say that I constantly feel guilty, or to imply that you should feel guilty – both of which are incorrect. Rather, the point was that despite faith and grace, we still live in a fallen, broken world. So while most of the time we may feel good, there will be times when we are, for example, feeling tired and alone, that the guilt will creep back in. However, these feelings should not be seen automatically as an indictment of who we are as Christians or as caregivers.
You see, in addition to remaining aware that we live in a fallen world, we also need to be cognizant of the fact that we are also living (to use a war-time analogy) behind enemy lines. We need to remember that God is not the only spiritual power at work in the world. Evil also exists, and the personification of this evil delights is picking at our insecurities and accusing us of all manner of things. It doesn’t matter in the slightest whether the accusations are true or not. From the accuser’s standpoint, a twisted truth or a reasonable lie works just as well.
Right now there is a lot of talk on the various support forums about being “warriors” and, given the state of the world in which we live, I believe that as long as we don’t let it become a cliché, the current usage of that word is justified. To prevent it from becoming a cliché, we need to be clear that being a warrior is not a comfortable, easy life. As caregivers, patients or even everyday “civilians” unaffected by disease or other trials, we are in a daily battle against evil forces that strive to devalue, demean and imprison the human spirit.
These powerful forces can take the form of cultures that stigmatize or hide people because they are sick; unscrupulous people who would abuse the weak and helpless; governments that decide who has enough value to “society” to justify their lives; personal attitudes that cause us to run down and minimize our own value and contributions; and all manner of charlatans who, in the name of God, would try to steal the gifts of God from us. Opposing these forces will see you labeled as a subversive, a hater, and all manner of “-phobe.”
Now if talking about evil makes you uncomfortable, you are not alone. Most people today, Christians and non-Christians alike, don’t like talking about existential evil, preferring instead to believe that people and institutions pressing such agendas are simply “naive,” “misinformed,” “misguided,” “doing their best,” or are “just following orders” – now where have we heard that line before? To be clear, dehumanizing policies and beliefs don’t just happen. They are driven and justified by an evil that is not the result of simple ignorance, faulty socialization, some innate human tendency, or an impersonal force of nature. They are work of the same accuser that tries to convince you that you should feel guilty for giving your loved one the care they need.
Hence, now is not the time for a “soft” faith that attempts to turn the creator of the universe into a plush toy that is only fit for comforting infants and the weak-minded. As CS Lewis pointed out allegorically about God, “…He is, after all, not a tame lion…”. Now is the time for an army of real spiritual warriors to arise that in the cause of doing what is right, are willing to challenge anything, attack any bastion of worldly power and who fear nothing, save The One who leads them into battle.
In Christ, Amen ☩
A prayer for when you are about to enter into battle…
“Blessed are You, Lord God, King of the Universe. It is right that I should at all times and in all circumstances bless You for the strength and protection that You provide to the weak and defenseless in this dark world. But today, I want to especially bless you for calling me to be a warrior for your cause. I know that the way will not be easy, and (here at least) the compensation will be meager and the rations poor, but thank you all the same for the privilege to serve. Into Your hands I commit my spirit. Amen”