When the Needs of the World Feel Too Big

Date: April 12, 2022

Lord, my heart is not proud; my eyes are not haughty.  I don’t concern myself with matters too great or too awesome for me to grasp.  Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself, like a weaned child who no longer cries for its mother’s milk. Yes, like a weaned child is my soul within me.  O Israel, put your hope in the Lord—now and always.  Psalm 131:1-3

Every time I pick up my phone, they’re there.  Image after image, story after story, about war, immense suffering, injustice, and overwhelming need.

Today, no matter where we live, we’re confronted with the reality of our own smallness in light of the needs of the world. We see crisis on the other side of the world, and need on a global scale that, in generations before, we would have known nothing about.  Now, these needs are just too big for me! And so, I do nothing.

Dr. Janelle Aijian points out the reason for this:  Satan, the god of this world, uses our sense of responsibility for everything, to get us to focus on feelings of failure so that we don’t engage at all.  Our discomfort, she says, “never translates into actual acts of love… but Scripture gives a path to fully engaging with the needs of the world.” [1]

David, the writer of Psalm 131, says he doesn’t concern himself with matters too great or too awesome for him to grasp, leaving those to God.  Instead, he quiets himself like a little child, and puts his trust in God (Psalm 131:1-3).  We, too, can “rest in the love that God offers us and… trust Him to give us a strong sense of what is and what isn’t our work…This is the path to peace in the midst of suffering. The small thing that He is calling you to do is the only thing you need to worry about.[2]

Think what you can do is just too small?  Think again how little, when offered to God, can accomplish much.


Resource reading: 2 Corinthians 9:9-15

[1] Aijian, J. (2019, November 6). Janelle Aijian: Humble goods and quiet hands [Biola University Chapel]. YouTube. Retrieved March 19, 2022, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ozEbb4i-WI

[2] Ibid.