Where Divine Love Is Fully Revealed
As I wrote here a few days ago, the world we live in is full of hard edges, and broken ground. The terrain isn't always smooth for us in our life's journeys.
Even so, it's at those hard edges and fissures in the earth, so to speak, that we find God's presence and grace. In fact, it's in those difficult places that we can feel God's presence more acutely if we are willing to open our hearts to Divine love.
This isn't easy for most of us. To hold on to love and to be open to learning through our trials and tribulations is one of the most difficult challenges any of us will face.
So many of us feel our faith flagging in those moments. We wonder why we are going through hard times. We begin to doubt the goodness of God. Maybe we even walk away from church because it starts to feel like an exercise in futility.
Because so many of us were taught at one point or another that God is the one who is putting us to the test.
We were instructed in our faith communities to face our struggles with the stoic nature of a good 16th century Puritan, believing that there must be something wrong with us that God is trying to purge by forcing us to suffer.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Author Cynthia Bourgeault had this to say about this very idea:
But when you run up against the hard edge and have to stand true to love anyway, what emerges is a most precious taste of pure divine love. God has spoken [God’s] most intimate name. Let me be very clear here. I am not saying that suffering exists in order for God to reveal himself. I am only saying that where suffering exists and is consciously accepted, there divine love shines forth brightly.
There is something beautiful about the idea of God's divine love shining forth brightly when we are experiencing our darkest moments.
This notion is difficult to embrace, though. And lest we get too down on ourselves for missing the mark, Jesus himself had a moment on the Cross where he cried out wondering where God was in his worst moment.
For those of us who trust that Jesus was the embodiment of the Christ, this means that God fully understands what it feels like for us to feel that kind of doubt, and to wonder if God meets us in our suffering.
As I sit here now, that is a comforting thought. It's much harder to bring it to mind when I'm going through difficult seasons, but I'm learning.
When we learn to accept suffering, we might also find the strength to see it as an opportunity to draw closer to God, to feel God's presence, and to become more open to the suffering of the world around us.
Only those who understand suffering can truly learn to speak life into the places in the world where suffering takes place. And they can only do so with great peace if they themselves have discovered God's everlasting love in their darkest places.
This is what we all should strive for as we seek to stumble after Jesus.
May it be so for you, me and all of us. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.