Attention: A Hostage Situation

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Attention: A Hostage Situation

Peter Gammell
Peter Gammell
February 6, 2024

I am an “intermittent” hostage. Let me explain: The great tyrant of our day, Urgency, keeps violently stealing my attention and holding it at a kind of gun point.

Here I sit at my desk, content to work on my tasks for the day and, “BAM!” an overheard conversation plunges me into fear and worry over the world’s tragedies and heartache.

Or, casually browsing youtube, looking for some neat stationary videos, and “WHAM!” politics is everywhere and I can’t think of anything else. I’m captured, tied up and held hostage by Urgency who demands that I figure it all out “right now!”.

I don’t even need an external catalyst to offer Urgency a chance to break in. I have so many internal mini-tyrants continuously evaluating my life. When I can’t meet my own standards (which is like, all the time) Urgency breaks in and starts shooting the place up, demanding that I fix myself and do it fast.

The worst part is how easily Urgency can jolt me from a peaceful state of mind into a crisis of mandatory decision making. I’m launched from a contented place of productivity and focus to an anxious hostage situation of indecision and danger. How can I feel safe when at any moment I may be taken hostage?

I look to Jesus for an answer and I desperately hope that he has an instant fix. Maybe he can meet the demands of Urgency!?

And he can. Though I haven’t always understood how. Jesus says, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Friend, Jesus intimately understands the mess of this broken world and offers compassion for us weary travelers. He knows that I cannot meet Urgency’s demands. Jesus doesn’t expect me to meet them. He has never required us to meet them. Nothing is wrong with me for feeling overwhelmed and threatened. Nothing is wrong with you for feeling that way.

Even if everything that Urgency threatened us with were to actually take place, Jesus would take care of us. The chaos of the world has no power to separate us from God’s love. Political tension won’t drive Jesus away, he’s promised he is with us. Tragedy can’t isolate us, Jesus mourns with us. Our self evaluations fall flat, Jesus judges us worthy.

The world is filled with troubles too many to number, and I am too small and too weak to bear them, let alone fix them. But Jesus is much bigger than me. He’s much bigger than the world! And we live and move and have our being in His expansive love. In Jesus there is no need, no requirement, no urgency. All has been accomplished. Jesus has won. It is finished. I am safe. You are safe.

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