Day 66 – Perspective in Suffering
Brother Lawrence wrote to a Christian woman who was sick: “God indeed knows what we need, and everything he does is for our good. If we knew how much he loves us, we would readily accept the bitter with the sweet, and even the most painful and most difficult things would be pleasant and agreeable. The most painful sufferings do not ordinarily seem unbearable unless we look at them from the wrong perspective. Furthermore, when we are convinced that it is the hand of God at work in us – that he is a Father full of love who allows us to endure humiliation, pain and suffering – all the bitterness is taken away, and only the sweetness remains.”
In my April 14, 2020 written report to our church governing board, at the beginning of this pandemic, after discontinuing in-person Sunday worship services on March 8, I wrote these lines:
“The world has literally changed in the last month. The coronavirus pandemic is now encircling the globe. Queens itself had become the first ground zero for the U.S.
“I repeat what Mike Leavitt said about a pandemic, who served as secretary to the U.S. Department of Human Health and Services: ‘Everything we do before a pandemic will seem alarmist. Everything we do after will seem inadequate.’
“We are learning a whole new vocabulary: social distancing, isolation, shelter at home, self-quarantine, working from home, N95, flattening the curve, remote learning, virtual everything.
“Conversations begin with ‘Is everyone healthy?’ and end with ‘stay safe’ or ‘stay healthy’.
“Church life has changed to online everything. No public gatherings. No in-person meetings. No personal touch. Zoom has become a new friend, and the learning curve has been high.
“Though we enjoy our church building as a gift from God, the church is not a building. The church is the redeemed people of God, which is very much alive and well at QCAC.
“I trust that many will choose during this season to draw closer to God, and yet I wonder if some will choose by default to drift away from God. So when we return to our sacred physical space, we will see a vibrant church of gathered saints who have weathered the pandemic storm and become stronger in the Lord. And yet at the same time, will we sadly miss a few who have disconnected and vanished from the horizon entirely.”
Friends, this pandemic has been a long and difficult season of stress and suffering with no end in sight. I trust you have drawn closer to God.
Brother Lawrence himself suffered with sciatic gout and knew he was nearing death. Nevertheless, he continued to cheer up a sick woman.
He encouraged her, and encourages us, to view suffering from a divine perspective – realizing God’s goodness, acknowledging that he is at work in us, knowing that he is draining out all the bitterness of our experience and leaving only his sweetness.
Action Step: Pray, “Lord, do your full work in me during this difficult pandemic season.”
This is God’s Word for you today,