Our culture pretends that in ourselves have power over evil, that we are strong to crush cancer under our feet, that enough rehab facilities will banish addictions from our bodies, that our marriages and family relationships can be made effortless and without any cracks if we just try hard enough. Many of you know from your intimate experiences with all these evils that what our culture tells us day in and day out about the hope that we can make for ourselves through government programs and through emotional toughness and through enough money and enough security and enough therapy is a lie.
We have no power in ourselves to help ourselves. This is the bad news, and this is the good news. Desperation, fear, and hopelessness spring from trying to be our own saviors, from pinning our hope on a chemotherapy drug, from considering the midterm elections to be our salvation, from imagining that our deliverance can come from a larger paycheck or a better elementary school or a better use of time. None of these things can save us. None of these things can contribute to our peace.