I’m in an interesting place right now. Things are going really well for me personally, and for my immediate family, in most areas.
It’s the outside world I’m worried about. It seems like it’s going to hell in the proverbial handbasket, literally being dismantled before my eyes, and that I have no power to help or do anything to prevent the collapse.
I’m speaking, of course, about the catastrophe that began with the presidential inauguration last Friday, and also about a work situation that I can’t be too specific about. Both of these situations are out of my control, and both are hurting people I care about. And that hurts me, very much.
I have had some iteration of the phrase, “Don’t worry, God is sovereign,” thrown at me twice in the last 24 hours, by two different people, in response to each of these issues.
Situation 1: Yesterday, in a conversation about the work issue, a person in a position of power who is not directly affected by the situation told a group that basically all we could do was pray and have faith that God has “got this.”
Situation 2: Today at school, one of my fifth graders, who has been continuously worried since November 8th about his parents being deported, was literally crying so hard he couldn’t breathe or speak. I knew that he had had trouble sleeping as we got closer and closer to the inauguration, and he said that he had been having terrible nightmares about what would happen once DJT became president. I am powerless to do anything to help beyond say how sorry I am, that I care about him, and that we would get through it together.
I posted about this on Facebook, because I feel that the least I can do at this moment is make people aware of the real children who are being affected by this incoming administration. An acquaintance commented that she wasn’t a Trump supporter but 1) my student’s fear wasn’t caused by Trump, but by his/her parents being irresponsible and sharing too much about their fear of Trump, and 2) that we shouldn’t worry because “God is sovereign and we are under his protection, not the government.”
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: It’s easy to say that God is in control if a situation doesn’t affect you.
It’s easy to say that God is sovereign if you’re not worried.
It’s easy to say that God has “got this” if you have nothing to fear.
If you feel the need to make this comment to me, I will clap back pretty hard. I am OVER IT. This statement is true, but useless. If someone is a Christian, they already know it, and if they aren’t a Christian, it’s meaningless.
It is this kind of thing that makes Christians seem so out of touch with the rest of the world. This does not make people want to be like you. It makes them run away from you. This statement, unaccompanied by any action or apology for their pain, is judgmental, unhelpful, and unkind.
So, I’ve been thinking about some things that people can do and say that are more helpful, even if they don’t share the same concerns. If you feel like telling someone worried about Trump (or really anything) that God is in control, try one of these things instead:
- Tell them you’re really sorry they’re upset. You don’t have to agree with them to do this.
- Ask: “How can I help?” Then do what they say. If they would like prayers, pray for them, but don’t say “I’ll pray for you” in a judgmental way to someone who doesn’t want to hear it.
- Tell them you hope their fears will prove unfounded. Don’t say their fears aren’t valid.
- About Trump specifically: Write or call your representatives and ask them to hold Trump accountable to the norms of the U.S. government. You can do this even if you are not personally worried about a Trump presidency.
How do you feel about the “God is sovereign” comment?
Photo via Pixabay.
About Holly Love
Holly Love is an ESL teacher and blogger in Atlanta, Georgia. She writes about marriage, parenting, faith, work, politics, social justice, and current events at her blog, lovelyintrospection and can be found on Twitter @introspectivegal.