Wednesday, July 7, 2010

But in God's . . . ?

I have been blessed for the past three years by a spiritual director of extraordinary resilience and perseverance.

Especially for the past two years.  

Yesterday my friend Karen, who lost her own beautiful son two years ago,  posted the following quote from Paul's letter to the Romans on Facebook:  "We are joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer."  

I myself am not those things.  You see the problem.

Some days ago I was ruminating with my director on some of the good things that came into my life in the few years before Josh died.  The things that have probably saved my own life.  "What are the chances of my having had those encounters?" I wondered.  "Close to zero, I would think."

"Close to zero in human terms," he responded.  "But in God's . . . ?"


  1. There was a time when I was that, what Paul says and Karen posted. But not so much anymore. (I think of them as my Pollyanna days)....Not patient in affliction, not joyful in hope...but mostly still faithful in prayer?. A least I have're Spiritual Director makes an excellent point...

  2. Robin - is it possible that we project our own ideas of "joyful" "patient" and "faithful"... as if they are kind of all-happy, all-good emotions?

    What if "joyful in hope" is more about the deep joy (not happiness) that we feel when we choose hope. Even if hope is something that feels elusive, yet we choose to look for it anyway?

    Or the patience that comes with endurance...maybe it doesn't feel "patient" to endure the affliction of tragic and shattering loss. But there is endurance nonetheless. And that, in itself, is a kind of patience.


    I feel the same about faithfulness in prayer... when I was younger I think that meant every day in every way I prayed. Yet I couldn't always "pray" during various times of my life.

    Today and as I get older, I feel a kind of faithfulness to my life, a being here in it ... with the wrinkles and the warts and the gashes that have been slashed in it. And I am faithfully here waking up, looking toward where I last saw God, and choosing to hope I will see (or feel or know) that again.

    Sometimes I do. In deep and sure ways.

    And I feel faithful at those times. Faithful in my spiritual life, although if one were to look at it from the outside I feel sure one could say that I have not been faithful at all.

    I don't know if this makes sense. I hope it does.

    Hugs to you ... and sending love to Karen as well.


  3. I am not those things, just trying to be--as there is nothing else to do but wait patiently, and hope for healing, and pray for this broken world to be over and for a new world to begin. It's all there is. Just laying low and waiting for the storm to pass. I think of the disciples words to Jesus, paraphrased here,"Where else can we go, Lord? Only you have the words of eternal life". Nowhere else to go.
    And yet, as your director says, perhaps God has been behind the scenes setting it up, making it possible to get through the impossible. I see signs of that in my life.
    Love you, Robin. Think of you every single day, sometimes more, and hold you up to our Father.