Uprooting the Evil in the Fields
Three years ago this month I quit law school, and my entire outlook on life changed. Around that time a counselor asked me how I viewed the world differently than five years ago. Surprising even myself, I responded, “I don’t have to save it.”
I’d been driven by a desire to change the world. But it was more than that: It was a sense of duty. I felt it was my responsibility to save the world. I sighed over If only dreams about a quiet life surrounded by family, nature and simple joys. But there were wrongs to right and injustices to correct, so I would take up the weight of the boulder on my back and press on.
I pressed on until the weight became too heavy, and I could press on no more.
I dropped the dream of being a “Somebody,” and in its place arose something totally unexpected.
A Subtle and Subversive Kingdom
It is a humble calling we are given. We are but hobbits, too small to overthrow the darkness that swallows our world, but still not to be underestimated.
The change I now yearn for is not as explicit and earth-shaking as I once believed it must be. I am comfortable now with being a nobody, and I look and pray for a society of healthy Nobodies — normal families who do the hard work of loving each other and loving their neighbors, everyday individuals taking responsibility for everyday dysfunction instead of trying to make a name for themselves. Above all I am looking for ordinary people who have fixed their faces on the Person of Jesus, who have made becoming ever more like Him, their one thing.
The Jews expected Jesus to come as a conquering warrior. Instead, He came as a suffering servant. Maybe we suffer from the same blind spot.
God’s work is mostly invisible, a vast array of interconnected roots beneath a landscape that’s unaware of what is growing below. His work is in the lowly and unseen. It happens behind closed doors, where no one suspects. One day the King will return in full glory. In that day, the roots will spring to the surface and the land will never be the same. Doors will be ripped from their hinges. The unknown will become known, and the unseen seen. Until then, it is the small good of small people that furthers His Kingdom, deep below the surface level of the seen and celebrated.
He has chosen the Shire to be Mordor’s undoing, the smallest and humblest to defeat the darkest enemies.
Revival Will Be Found in Family
Where the existence of injustice once made me want to rise to the top rungs of society and rub shoulders with the powerful, it now makes me want to go home and cook a meal. It makes me want to walk slower and breathe deeper in this little life of mine. To get married and love my husband. To have children and raise them knowing the goodness of God. To decorate a home that nurtures family and embraces the down-hearted. To grow fruits and vegetables in a simple garden. To gather people around my dinner table. To worship in the newness of morning and pray in the stillness of night.
I believe it is in family that this revival we have been praying for will come. It will happen in living rooms, kitchens, nurseries, and bedrooms. It will happen as sons become fathers and daughters mothers, as husband and wife turn toward one another, as career aspirations are laid aside for children, as homes are turned into glimpses of Heaven.
Family is not a side dream — rather, it should be the soil from which all other dreams are sprung.
I don’t dream anymore of changing the whole world. I dream of individuals and families choosing to live with Christ at the center of everything. I dream of families protecting one another’s hearts, fostering emotional and spiritual health, opening doors for the unloved and weary in their neighborhood and community. I dream of houses of Acts, where miracles happen in living and dining rooms. I dream of people who steward their hearts well in order that their communities may thrive.
And maybe — just maybe — as we turn toward the face of Jesus, as we embrace the small lives we have been given, as we truly love one another, we will change the world. It will be subtle. Subversive. It will be the vast network of roots unseen below the surface. It will be a beautiful, wholesome, quiet work. Maybe then we will find ourselves changing the world in ways unexpected and wonderful.
What if it is the small life lived well that is the most powerful act of defiance against darkness?
It is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succor of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. (J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King)
Caitlin Bassett is a Policy Analyst and Communications Liaison at the Discovery Institute.