Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Comfort for When Joy and Peace Are Vanquished

THERE are times when grief makes siege and loss drives hope away in storm.
Such times we realise there is a depth to suffering we had no idea about.  We’re taken captive against our will and we enter into an abyss that is too cruel to describe.  Such times beckon us into an unimaginable despair where the days are perilous and the nights are only relieved by unconsciousness.
I could go on but that, too, would be pointless.  The point is clear; in some suffering God shows us what hellishness of life is possible.  It’s a springboard for empathy, later on, where we have the pluck to survive it.  But in the meantime we do need to survive it.
What is needed is comfort, but not just that; hope, a vision for the present which helps us hold on for the future.
Hope is the giddy premise of joy and peace, and without such a thing we cannot survive.
The purpose of suffering is to drive us from the abyss into a hope that can sustain us for the moment.  A moment’s hope is enough; it’s all we have, so God makes it possible that it’s all we need.
The deeper the pain of suffering, the more palpable the felt experience of hellish life, the more resilience is borne upon the soul.  We find we do get through when we believe we can get through.  In this, God is faithful.
Reflecting on such a fact is enough to get us through the day.  We would change it in a heartbeat, but we only engage in wonderful maturity as we come to end of ourselves.
The moment’s hope that gives us a foretaste of a future’s joy and peace is a comfort richly earned by faith.
There’s only one thing for it: trust.  Reach out to love and trust.
In pain, give God your trust and receive the love of supportive others, and hope will restore you to peace and joy.

© 2016 Steve Wickham.

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