This originally appeared in Buncombe Street United Methodist Church’s 2019 Lenten Devotional.
“In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.” (1 Peter: 5-10 NLT)
God never promised us a problem-free life. Jesus endured the worst of all trials, so why do we feel we can escape having our own endurance tested?
Through trial-bearing and the recognition that God is at work, even amid the bad, can we ever hope to learn what it feels like on “the knife’s edge of experience,” as Richard Rohr describes… a let-down of our will to make room for His, that casts in motion a spiritual cascade from one of eyes closed to eyes open. Of soul closed to soul open. And finally, of Spirit disconnected to Spirit connected.
Why is it that trial – particularly the kind that brings us to the bottom of ourselves – is such a powerful vehicle to the Truth? If we think about it, the bottom is where our foundation is. It is there that we see what it is we are made of, and all the things that we are not. There, we recognize who we truly are and whose we are. In the darkness, His light is a beacon and opens the way for peace, hope, healing, and love. We come into the sacred comfort and security that He is with us always and there is never a place, nor a time, when we are isolated from His love.
A lot of this rings true in the saying, “The darkest hour of the night is just before the dawn.” The dawn of truth, and the life that’s available to us through Christ, is the birth of the New Day – the Good Life for which we have for so long and so desperately yearned. It is good because He is good. The Good Life isn’t to be earned. It is to be received.
Father God, I praise You for meeting me in the darkness, although the truth is, You’ve always been there. I pray to give all that I face to You, and allow You to take control. You are my light and my truth, forever and ever. Amen.