I can only imbibe a certain amount of television “news,” especially the kind that daily serves up the same brew even though it is poured out in different kinds of cups. After I got over the novelty of the “Yellowstone” mug and the “I’m allergic to morning mug,” I realized it was still the same drink every time.
I discovered that the monotonous diet was producing in me a huge sense of despondency and resignation. Hopelessness even.
In Luke 18:1 Jesus told his disciples that they should “pray and not lose heart.” He knew what the toxicity of despondency would do to them. The great mission they were on would be overcome by a belief that maybe things would never change.
Karl Barth once wrote that resignation is often just a form of unbelief. The conclusion that there is nothing that can be done about it, so you might as well give up. At least you wouldn’t be troubled by hopelessness if you give up on hoping.
Bart said that there is no such thing as a Christian resignation. Defined by the opinion that you have either submit to a fate of this kind or to come to terms with it – just accept that you can’t do anything about it.
However, there is another way to look at this. For the Christian it might be defined by a conviction that it is God’s intention to set everything right, and the Christian’s interaction with that is to pray and to also be involved in productive solutions to the problem.
Another way to look at it is to realize that resignation is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Give up and what you dreaded will come to pass. Period.
The best way to approach such times is by being personally involved in its solution. That could be voting, writing letters, protesting, donating, volunteering, or recruiting.
The result of such may not be the elimination of sadness. What societal ills would you like to see eliminated? To pick up a shovel or a pen or a sack of food or a voter’s registration form or your “clean up the whatever clothes” is infinitely more satisfying and hopeful than resignation.
Barth was right. “Resignation…is always the disconsolate consolation of unbelief.”
It is giving up.