If Not Me, Then Who

By Mike Soika

During these especially troubling times, I have grappled with the question of whether or not God intervenes in the world.  As I’ve written before, I don’t believe that the Spirit acts as a life guard who will swim out and save us when we have strayed too far from shore.  Instead, I believe that our Internal Guide is there all along, counselling us to stop swimming and to turn around before it is too late.  But, I must confess that there have been many times during the past years where I wanted the Divine to just step in and make things better because the evil in the world seemed too overpowering. 

Times when…

  • An invisible virus ravished the world, infecting and killing millions
  • Our politics seemed especially vile and it felt like the American experiment was about to implode
  • Children were ripped from their mother’s arms and locked in cages
  • Wildfires raged out west at the same time that hurricanes ravaged the east coast
  • Mass shootings took the lives of too many souls, and was repeated time after time

And so much more

I know – intellectually – that at the very same time when I am crying out to the Divine to stop the evil from advancing in the world, that the Spirit is calling out to me, urging me to be the voice, the eyes, the hands the spirit of God, and to embody the love of others that God reserves for each of us.

But often, I find it too hard to embody the love of the Spirit for others.  All too often, I just want to give over to God the very actions that God is asking of me.

Sometimes, the world seems too scary.  Many times, the calling is daunting.  Life would be so much easier if all I had to do was pray and then the Spirit would descend upon the world and all would be fresh and new and innocent again.  Praying is so much easier to accomplish than doing.

But alas, we are not here to simply offer up our prayers.  We are here to offer up our beings in service to the call of the Divine.  We are here to do.  We are here to love.  We are here to raise our voices on behalf of others.

I know with all certainty that the Divine is calling upon each and every one of us to act.  I know this because of the vast number of issues confronting us, each of which presents an opportunity to breath the love of God into the world.

In these times of uncertainty and angst,  perhaps we can be inspired by – ironically – the Cadet Prayer that is displayed at the West Point Chapel

O God, our Father, Thou Searcher of Human hearts, help us to draw near to Thee in sincerity and truth. May our religion be filled with gladness and may our worship of Thee be natural.

Strengthen and increase our admiration for honest dealing and clean thinking, and suffer not our hatred of hypocrisy and pretense ever to diminish. Encourage us in our endeavor to live above the common level of life. Make us to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong, and never to be content with a half-truth when the whole can be won.

Endow us with courage that is born of loyalty to all that is noble and worthy, that scorns to compromise with vice and injustice and knows no fear when truth and right are in jeopardy.

Guard us against flippancy and irreverence in the sacred things of life. Grant us new ties of friendship and new opportunities of service. Kindle our hearts in fellowship with those of a cheerful countenance, and soften our hearts with sympathy for those who sorrow and suffer.

This Cadet Prayer is – first and foremost – a prayer that asks of God of only one thing: to give us the strength to serve.  And, that must be enough.