By Laura Heid
Today’s Gospel reflects on Jesus driving out the evil from one who was afflicted by Satan’s vice. Jesus did something good, but the crowds didn’t understand. So they explained His ability to do such a miracle by blaming it on the devil’s work: “By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he drives out demons.”
When in my life have I done something that might be good, but others consider those actions to be “evil” because they didn’t understand?
Maybe every day.
I work with families to provide safer places for their kids to sleep. I connect a parent to programs that help feed and clothe his twin boys. I support grandparent’s decision to seek treatment so that she can play a bigger role in her grandchild’s life. At the end of the day, after my feet hurt, my brain aches, and my heart feels heavy, I hope that even the tiniest thing I did that day will help these families get a little closer to God’s plan for them.
As I drive home feeling all kinds of things about my day, I feel grateful to find value in my work. I can see the good it does for families. I feel honored to be called a social worker in foster care. But that’s not what they call me. As they watch my car drive from their homes, some of them call me “baby snatcher,” “the government,” or quite frankly, other unmentionable words that you only say to those who are invading in your business.
And I totally get it.
And I’m not offended by those titles, because the nature of my work is, unfortunately, a bit invasive. For that reason, I try to do it with as much humility and understanding as my heart can show, and work to be exactly the opposite of those things.
The things I do in my work I pray God would consider good, because it helps keep children safe and keep them with their families as much as possible. The field of social work has put so much effort helping families thrive instead of survive. I can see that bigger picture because I’ve studied it, I’ve practiced it, and I’ve seen it work. But when a family who is struggling sees me come into their home and put even MORE restrictions on their life, limits on their methods of coping (there are healthy and unhealthy ways to cope), I look to them as something negative. They might understand the bigger picture, but their struggle makes it hard for them to see past that single day.
Those of them who decide to trust are the ones who find freedom.
Jesus did little things throughout His life that didn’t make sense to the people then, but make a lot of sense to them now.
Do you have any of those moments in your life, when something unexpected happens that moves your track off course? Looking back at those times make me laugh. In the moment I have all of the emotions, and I have them to the extreme. Confusion, fear, uncertainty, anger, excitement, more confusion. But many moons later, I am usually grateful for that little change of wind, that little unusual miracle, that lead me to something that ended up making my life so much different, and so much fuller.
“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”
Unexpected “miracles” provoke two reactions – one to draw closer to God in awe and faith, or another to step further away in confusion and fear. I always find myself pulled towards the latter. I pray that God gives me the strength to always draw nearer to Him.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Laura is a graduate student at University of Maryland School of Social Work and works in foster care. She is obsessed with all things vegetable and hiking to pretty places. Laura loves supporting her wife, an active duty soldier, and traveling with their little pup.