By Emily Hill
Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote some of the most freeing words I’ve ever read when he described what it means for humans to do good in light of the revelation of God in Christ:
“The good consists of nothing more than allowing our action to be determined by the knowledge that it is not us but indeed God alone who accomplishes good in history . . . It means renouncing any self-justification in the ultimate freedom of daring to do the good . . . trusting in God’s grace.”
Freedom from Despair
We don’t need to justify ourselves by our actions as we strive for justice. We can’t. It’s not up to us, even if we delude ourselves into thinking it is. If we fall into the trap of thinking it’s about our work, we’ll fall into despair as we realize how little power we have on our own to fix the injustices we see around us. I’ve had those feelings of despair—it happens, and it’s a natural reaction. But I have to remind myself of this: the kingdom of God is coming, and the kingdom of God is here.
The one seated on the throne tells us, “I am making everything new” (Revelation 21:5). I’m thankful that God is making all things new. That’s present tense. That’s a work currently in progress, not just for some future point in time. God is at work everywhere, transforming lives and situations. And the end doesn’t rest on my shoulders.
The kingdom of God is a mystery far beyond our understanding, and it grows by God’s power. What may look small and insignificant now will grow into a majestic kingdom beyond our imagination. He calls us to participate with him in his work, to bring his kingdom, to pursue justice and restore life as he intended it. But God is doing it, and he has already won.
I pray that God would remind me of the freedom and grace he offers as I work alongside him. I pray that he gives me the strength and motivation to press on through discouragement, and I pray for the ability to live expectantly in light of his promised kingdom now and in the future.
Emily Hill, an advocate for economic solutions to justice issues, founded Stop Traffick Fashion and will soon receive her MA in social justice at Kilns College in Bend, Oregon.