Try as we may, I do not think we are able to consistently handle balancing the beauty & suffering life brings us without God’s help. So, the question is, where does God who created us & all of life, fit into our lives in times of both beauty & periods of suffering?
The Bible tells us that God our Creator has promised to love us unconditionally, forgive us, to walk with us & guide us through all our days. God is steadfast in His love for us & in that lies the pathway to a peace that passes all understanding. Try as we may, I do not think we are able to consistently handle balancing the beauty & suffering life brings us without God’s help. So, the question is, where does God who created us & all of life, fit into our lives in times of both beauty & periods of suffering?
How do we balance our living when we are experiencing a season of deep gratitude for the beauty life brings to us, yet at the same time are standing by the bedside of a loved one who is laying sick in bed suffering, or when we hear of the devastation of the effects on the environment from climate change, or the tragedy & violence of wars & hate crimes? Where do we go to find comfort, strength & hope & how can we focus on what we do have & be grateful for the gifts given, when we are drowning in sorrow, pain, fear, & feelings of hopelessness? Perhaps the answer to those questions lies in what it is we are focused on, what exactly informs our living & our view.
We read in the Bible that since the beginning of time God’s creation has been faced with the challenge of balancing the beauty & suffering of life. In Psalm 13, the psalmist lifts up a lament to God crying out for help in his/her obvious suffering, saying: “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?” She/he continues to call out to God to answer & to: “give light to his eyes & to restore his will to live”. He/she admits to being shaken as she/he continues to lament his/her suffering & to beg God to respond & heal him/her. Yet, in the end of this troubled lament, we can almost hear through the words, the palmist’s sighs, as she/he turns his/her desperate pleading for help from God, into a proclamation saying; that in spite of his/her despair & suffering, “he/she trusts in God’s steadfast love”; & then states that he/she “will turn his/her lament into rejoicing in God’s salvation.” He/she concludes the lament with a statement of balance saying that: “she/he will sing to the Lord, because God has dealt bountifully with him/her.”
The psalmist commits to yield himself/herself to God & to live with God, for as he/she proclaims that he/she knows & trusts that God lives with him/her & in him/her. It is faith that brings the psalmist, as well as each of us. God’s healing grace. Faith in our living God is the bedrock of all hope, & hope is the fuel for all healing. God is the vine & we are the branches. Cut off from him we can do nothing. We are all invited, to absorb the words of the prayerful hymn: “Abide with Me”, as we continue to seek peace & balance in our life walk with our Lord.
Abide with Me
Abide with me, fast falls the eventide.
The darkness deepens Lord, with me abide.
When other helpers fail, & comforts flee
Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me.
Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day
Earth joys grow dim, its glories pass away
Change & decay in all around I see
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.
I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless
Ills have no weight, & tears no bitterness
Where is death’s sting
Where grave, the victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me
Hold Thou Thy Cross before my closing eyes
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies
Heaven’s morning breaks and earth’s vain shadows flee In life & in death, O Lord abide with me
~Posted by Rev Kathryn Bindig, MDiv. MS; Pastoral Care Minister with assistance from Rich Muscatello; Director of Business Development & Strategy
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