When considering the timelessness of evil in our world, it is important to remember that the work of each generation is to resist cynicism and despair. It is almost too natural to become dismissive of the world’s problems and the people in it when things seem bleak. A simple way of rejecting evil in the world is to hunker down with a cynical attitude that deems everything and everyone as unworthy of our care, attention, or effort. Yet, while evils in the world are age old, our faith that the world is being continually redeemed by our good and loving God is something that needs to be renewed daily. Falling back to cynicism about darkness around us is easy. Trusting that the sins we see in ourselves and encounter in our neighbors will be forgiven by the unfailing grace of the Almighty is difficult and perhaps it is the hard work that is needed now more than ever.
All this is to say that faith, hope, and love are Christian virtues of resistance against the evils that mean to bring us down. God did not embed these virtues into our souls so that they can lay dormant. These virtues form a foundation of resistance against all that tries to lead the world into despair. Perhaps this is why Paul, in his second letter to Timothy wrote, “For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you” (2 Timothy 1:6). In the face of the suffering, imprisonment, adversity, oppression, and persecution that he faced, Paul urged the young apostle to rekindle the gift of God so that he could gaze with hopeful eyes beyond the bleak circumstances which they faced. Rekindling the gift of God meant greeting adversity with hope for better tomorrows, living with active faith in our God who transcends and transforms suffering, and showing love for those who seem unlovable. May we all follow their blessed example and do the hard work of rekindling the gift of God within us each and every day.