James 1:2 NLT
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.
Determining good fortune is an imprecise science. On a global scale I am not subject to earthquake, starvation or war, while I enjoy access to health care, an income, a home of my own, plus family and friends. So, yes, I am fortunate. So, why is it that I all too often feel uncomfortable?
Fortune carries the idea of fate. I can see it was beyond my control when birth located me in post-war Britain within a secure family with access to education and the survival needs of food and shelter. However, James isn’t speaking of luck when it comes to considering our circumstances. He observes the love of God in the heart of circumstance, be they ones we select or feel are thrust upon us.
It is counterintuitive, perhaps even cruel, to suggest that God’s grace lies at the very heart of suffering. It raises all those difficult questions concerning a God of love and the apparent imposition of suffering. However, for the disciple I feel as though such suffering is the fruit of my own surrender to the will of God for my own personal growth and development. As I accompanied Katey along that path of pain upon which everything was challenged within us, I took a good while to stop thrashing around in my pain and anger, and pause just long enough to hear the whispered welcome of the Divine.
In no way am I justifying pain, suffering or sorrow. I am reflecting that I never knew the reality of God more present than in the deepest depths of my own painful confusion. Would I choose to go back? I don’t think so. Yet the remembrance of the moments of divine presence have only deepened both my own faith in God and desire for experiential relationship with God while alive on the earth.
QUESTION: Have you experienced ‘the reality of God more present than in the deepest depths of my own painful confusion’?
PRAYER: Lord, in the middle of pain and anguish you are with me, and for that I am glad.