GOD’S BUSINESS is God’s business. Nobody can sway him. None of our concerns weigh on him beyond his will, despite the pleading of our prayers. That accepted, we move on into the vast expanse of the mysteries of God. Yes, that accepted, notwithstanding how hard it is to accept, God softens us in life’s hardships.
Just how does God do this: soften our hearts in the midst of life’s hardships?
We are taken swiftly (or slowly) – placed over a rapid heat or a brought to a slow boil – into a place where we have come to the end of our own power. At the end of our own power is the beginning of God’s infinite power – and not only that, but into the chasm of God’s very purposes.
This is only ever an experienced thing. We cannot ever really believe the fullness of the theory until we have tasted the practice.
One thing is for sure: life has its hardships and for what other reason or purpose does God have for them, but to know that hardships are destined to improve us?
When we can sit and listen to a person say, “Because of this trial that almost killed me, I no longer have any fear,” we consider the glory of God in the person clinging on despite what seemed impossible to endure.
We ought neither downplay nor disparage the effects of the hardships of life, for the hardship is intended to break us. We are supposed to be broken. This is good news, for this fact: once we are broken, then we are useable for God’s Kingdom.
This is hope in the midst of disaster. Only those headed toward calamity are positioned to appreciate not only the theology of pain in brokenness, but also the truth poised out of such a shipwreck. It is clear that once we are forced to reconcile the irreconcilable we are grapple with a mystery and it causes us to surrender.
Surrendering is such an ugly image to the worldly person – so inherently weak. But surrender is an open door to peace, to light, to truth – to the peace that comes from the light considered in truth.
God softens our hearts immeasurably when we face a hardship without resentment because we don’t know the answers. It is an unparalleled acceptance beyond the reason of the world – a coping strategy that can only come and work though our eternal God. His grace is sufficient. It will always be enough.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.