Hank was very depressed. He had just come from a meeting with his supervisor, and things seemed to be getting worse instead of better.The situation at the big city medical insurance company where he worked was a disaster. He had been a faithful worker there since he finished graduate school. Yet, with the change of people at the top a few years ago things just weren’t the same. The whole attitude at the firm seemed to change. Whereas before there was a sense of doing things for the right reasons, now it was all for the money. People and their circumstances got lost in the equation; the politics of how things worked was becoming almost scandalous.
And in the middle of it all was Hank, who just wasn’t comfortable playing things the way they wanted it done now. Last year he had told the person he reported to that he was having difficulty with the “new” procedures. Since then he got the sense that he was being pushed to the side. Things were happening, decisions made, assignments given, and he was barely included in the conversation. They were even starting to question the quality of his work.
And that was the reason for this last meeting there. Hank felt like he was getting nowhere. His boss denied that any of these things were even happening. But Hank could read between the lines. He was not considered a team player and it was no use trying to get them to really listen to what he was saying. So, what should be do? Was it time to move on or should he try to fight the “system”.
For those of us who have encountered this kind of scenario, there is a real struggle here. There is also a temptation to give in to cynicism and bitterness.
Did you ever hear something and think that it was meant for you to hear? That can happen from time to time. Perhaps it’s something that’s said, or maybe we are reading a passage from the Bible, or hearing it proclaimed at Mass. And the phrase jumps out at you and you pay attention. Well, maybe for those of you who are in situations where you feel strongly that you are not being treated fairly, or the circumstances are becoming overwhelming, maybe these words we just heard made you stop and pay attention:
“They will fight against you but not prevail over you, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.”
And if we believe that God is telling us the truth, then we can begin to live in a more hopeful way. Not that we sit back and wait for God to rid the world of all those who are causing us grief, although that might sound like a nice plan. But perhaps in a more trusting way we may ask God to help us not let these kinds of things eat us up alive. That’s something we can control to some degree—how much we let it affect us. And even more we keep asking this very important question: What is life asking of me in this situation? What is God asking of me in this situation?
An important thing to remember is this: Harm does not come to us from external circumstances, but from how we react to them interiorly. “What ruins our souls is not what happens outside, but the echo that it awakes within us.” The harm that other people do to me never comes from them, it comes from me. Jesus really wants us to believe this.
And Jesus wants us to have a strong faith. That was one of the few things that really angered him—when he saw there was no faith, especially when the message was so clear and miracles were performed right in front of them.
So, how will we prevail over our “enemies”? By having faith in a God who really cares about us. By trusting that we can take a different path and respond to challenges in a different way. By taking comfort in the words: for I am with you to deliver you.