One of the things that is clear to many is that this is a time when we will have to be relentlessly positive, continually patient, and forbearing. We are shoved into what our doofus prime minister calls bubbles because she is too scared to offend by saying the truth: we are with family. You choose your friends and indeed you should choose your wife wisely, but you don’t choose your relatives. You are commanded to honour the previous generation, but at times they are as unlikable as you are yourself.
You are worried about your job, as the suggestion that we should be nice is being weaponized. This world works by oppression and fear. We are to instead look to Christ. Not the church — it is converged, as an institution. Not at each other, for we are flawed. And not at the current results or productivity we have, for at times it feels that nothing real is happening. However, during these times things are happening. I’m quoting Lewis, which means I’ve had to re read half the book to find the quote, and he said it better than I remember it.
I have a notion that what seem our worst prayers may really be, in God’s eyes, our best. Those, I mean, which are least supported by devotional feeling and contend with the greatest disinclination. For these, perhaps, being nearly all will, come from a deeper level than feeling. In feeling there is so much that is really not ours–so much that comes from weather and health or from the last book read. One thing seems certain. It is no good angling for the rich moments. God sometimes seems to speak to us most intimately when He catches us, as it were, off our guard. Our preparations to receive Him sometimes have the opposite effect. Doesn’t Charles Williams say somewhere that “the altar must often be built in one place in order that the fire from heaven may descend somewhere else.”?
C.S. Lewis, Letters to Malcolm, Chiefly on Prayer. Ch. 21
Quite simply, you don’t know what is your best work. God does. And he used the fristration of the prophet — unheard in his nation — to predict that the ends of the earth would sing praises to God.
49 Listen to Me, O islands,
And pay attention, you peoples from afar.
The Lord called Me from the womb;
From the body of My mother He named Me.
2 He has made My mouth like a sharp sword,
In the shadow of His hand He has concealed Me;
And He has also made Me a select arrow,
He has hidden Me in His quiver.
3 He said to Me, “You are My Servant, Israel,
In Whom I will show My glory.”
4 But I said, “I have toiled in vain,
I have spent My strength for nothing and vanity;
Yet surely the justice due to Me is with the Lord,
And My reward with My God.”
5 And now says the Lord, who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant,
To bring Jacob back to Him, so that Israel might be gathered to Him
(For I am honored in the sight of the Lord,
And My God is My strength),
6 He says, “It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant
To raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel;
I will also make You a light of the nations
So that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”
7 Thus says the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel and its Holy One,
To the despised One,
To the One abhorred by the nation,
To the Servant of rulers,
“Kings will see and arise,
Princes will also bow down,
Because of the Lord who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel who has chosen You.”
Need I remind you I’m writing in the Southernmost university town in the world? The Antipodes turned to Christ before the nation of New Zealand was formed, and we should praise the Anglican and Catholic missionaries who did that hard work. Christ is still the light to the nations, but the elite prefer to be in the darkness.
Do not be them. Do not be like them.