The apostle Paul wrote this in the book of Romans: "It appears to me that whatever we suffer now will show up only dimly when compared to the wonders God has in store for us. It is as though all creation is standing on tiptoe longing to see an unforgettable vision, the children of God being born into wholeness" (paraphrase by Macrina Wiederkehr, Seasons of the Heart).
This serves as a reminder that God is at work, even now, bringing healing to the world — for all of us. Consider now the ways that healing might have already started all around you.next >
Sing praises to the Lord, O you his faithful ones, and give thanks to his holy name. For his anger is but for a moment; his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning. As for me, I said in my prosperity, “I shall never be moved.” By your favor, O Lord, you had established me as a strong mountain; you hid your face; I was dismayed. To you, O Lord, I cried, and to the Lord I made supplication: “What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the Pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it tell of your faithfulness? Hear, O Lord, and be gracious to me! O Lord, be my helper!” You have turned my mourning into dancing; you have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, so that my soul may praise you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever.
Psalm 30:4-12next >
Our tendency is to think that when God seems far away, God is far away. I believe that nothing is farther away from the truth.
I never felt the presence of God more profoundly than at the bedside of my brother who lay dying. I wasn’t at peace and joy didn’t come that next morning, but God was there in the thick of our grief. Healing came on the eternal side of life.
The psalmist speaks of the natural ebb and flow of this existence. Good things flow in and good things flow out. God is present in all of it, whether we are mourning or dancing. Life is not without hiccups, stumbles, even eruptions and quakes. If nothing ever happened outside my realm of control and my own power to change, I would not know the blessing of God’s hand in my life. In my weakness, God is strong. That anything hopeful and good comes out of our suffering is evidence of a God whose favor lasts a lifetime.
Valerie Burtonnext >
I do not have to ask you to walk with me in life’s troubles.
I do not have to ask you to dance with me in my rejoicing!
For you are the Author of life. You are the Designer who has woven yourself into every strand. Help me not forget that you came first. There is nothing you can’t handle. Amen.
Paul also wrote this (in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10): "...but he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.' So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong."
Go now confident even in your weakness, in your sorrow, in your shortcomings, knowing that even in the middle of it all, Christ remains powerful within you.
Valerie Burton lives in Birmingham, Alabama, with her husband, Allan, their sons, Carter and Marshall, and dog, Byrd. She is the minister for Christian formation at Baptist Church of the Covenant. Life is good when there is coffee and a fire in the fireplace.
O Love How Deep