God Is A Tour Guide
Years ago, I served as a chaplain at Florida Hospital in downtown Orlando as part of my requirements for ordination.
There was this poor guy in my group who was completing the same thing for a different denomination, and he never ceased to irritate me with the ridiculous things he would say.
If I had written a textbook on all of the wrong things to tell people when they are going through some of the worst times in their lives, this guy would have taken up at least half of the book.
One of his go-to phrases was to say to people, "God puts us through these tribulations in order to test our faith, and to help us to trust Him more."
No matter what the rest of us, or the instructor, or the books that we were reading told him to the contrary, the dude just kept saying that to people. He refused to back off of what I believe is actually destructive theology.
To be fair, lots of people say the same thing when they or someone they love is going through tough times---mostly in order to extract some kind of meaning from the suffering.
Which is why I love the following quote from C.S. Lewis so much. It speaks right into this in a way I have never been able to--mostly because I'm not C.S. Lewis. Here it is:
God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality. [God] knew it already. It was I who didn't.That last bit says it all. "It was I who didn't." To me, this means that our journey to faith is one that is marked by self-discovery.
And rather than some calloused puppet-master, putting us through our paces until we achieve something, God prefers to be more like a tour guide, revealing the truth about who we are and who God is in the twists and turns of our path.
May you find this to be true during your own journey today and every day. May you discover the great depths of your own faith and love for God and others--even in the worst moments.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.