Some days, we look out the window and it all seems so bleak. A series of bad news, one after another.
My dear aunt passed away last week after battling cancer; a friend’s mum is seriously ill; and another friend fights a wearying war with depression. Rachel Macy Stafford, from whom words of beauty, wisdom and comfort always flow so effortlessly, faces a serious medical mystery.
Life has so much anguish, sorrow, fear. We pray, but sometimes the answer seems to be, “no, not yet”.
And then a friend’s husband shares this article. In it, Douglas Groothuis, who teaches at Denver Seminary, writes about marriage, in the light of his wife’s illness. She has been embattled by this chronic disease for the past 25 years, and it has gotten seriously worse. It is very sobering. Yet it also offers hope. That through such trial, he perseveres in faithfulness.
“Ecclesiastes tells me to embrace my ignorance within the larger circle of knowledge—to mine meaning where I can and to look ahead with hope. Other Scripture, such the Psalms of Lament (i.e., 22, 88, and 90), recognize and ratify my anger, confusion, and fatigue, while placing them in the grand story of Scripture and before the presence of God.
Still, I lament before God and man, trying to find a sure footing where I will not sink into self-pity and where I can smelt meaning out of misery—a footing from which I can offer up to God and to the world a hope worth hoping, because there is a God worth knowing.”
These are words borne out of bitter experience. I am amazed at all he writes. And how it bears testament to our Saviour’s work in his life. For what else could offer hope in such pain? And what else could comfort, amidst such utter misery?
I pray that I will have such perseverance, such faithfulness, such honesty, in the light of suffering, whatever it is my lot to bear. That I will also be able to cling unto the Lord for strength, and seek him in making my feet like a deer’s, gingerly but surely, treading upon those heights that may come.
17 Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to tread on the heights.
Habakkuk 3:17-19 (NIV)