Philippians 4:6-7 – Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

We all have two experiences of the events of life: the good that happens to us and the bad that seeks to break us. The question is: which leads to our growth and our spiritual maturity? I don't want to be accused of trying to find the silver lining in an otherwise dark and terrifying cloud, but many of us have come to the realization that the difficult days have led us closer to the light. A few of us at here in my congregation were talking about the things in life that have deepened our spiritual awareness and, without exception, the incidents mentioned were what you might call the dark side of life:

    the trauma a death;
    a relationship broken;
    estrangement from a child or friend;
    the diagnosis of a disease;
    the ending of employment.

No one wishes for pain and suffering in life but those who have experienced it would know what Nancy meant when she said to me: "Ken, I thank God for my cancer. Life is ever so much more real to me since I found out it might be very short. I feel so whole, so alive. I have so much hope and so much to share."

Life is a learning experience and we learn as much from the adversity as we do from the prosperity, or at least we have the opportunity and the potential to do so.

Prayer: God, you know I'm no Job and you know how much I hate pain and suffering, in my life and in the lives of others. Help me learn from life's experience what it means to have you by my side always, for I ask it in the name of the Suffering Servant of Salvation, even Jesus Christ. Amen.

About the author:

Kenn Stright <kennethstright@yahoo.ca>
West Petpeswick, Nova Scotia, Canada

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