It can be hard to see clearly when the windows, like those in our kitchen, are streaked like this:
Reading Philip Yancey’s Where is God When it Hurts? this week has helped me to see past the streaked windows of our suffering to the greater good that God is working under the surface. In his book’s study guide, he shares a poem written by a Confederate soldier about “transformed pain.”
I asked for strength that I might achieve;
He made me weak that I might obey.
I asked for health that I might do greater things;
I was given grace that I might do better things.
I asked for riches that I might be happy;
I was given poverty that I might be wise.
I asked for power that I might have the praise of men;
I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life;
I was given life that I might enjoy all things.
I received nothing that I asked for, all that I hoped for.
My prayer was answered.
He also shares A Prayer by Blaise Pascal:
“I ask you neither for health nor for sickness, for life nor for death; but that you may dispose of my health and my sickness, my life and my death, for your glory…You alone know what is expedient for me; you are the Sovereign Master; so do with me according to your will. Give to me or take away from me, only conform my will to yours. I know but one thing, Lord, that it is good to follow you, and bad to offend you. Apart from that, I know not what is good or bad in anything. I know not which is more profitable to me, health or sickness, wealth or poverty, nor anything else in the world. That discernment is beyond the power of men or angels, and is hidden among the secrets of your Providence, which I adore, but do not seek to fathom.”
Yancey says “Poverty and suffering can serve as instruments to teach us the value of dependence, and unless we learn dependence we will never experience grace.”
“Human suffering remains meaningless and barren unless we have some assurance that God is sympathetic to our pain, and can somehow heal that pain. In Jesus, we have that assurance.”
“Faith means believing in advance what will only make sense in reverse.”
“However deep the pit, God is deeper still.” (Corrie ten Bom)
“…those who suffer he delivers in their suffering; he speaks to them in their affliction.” (Job 36:15)