by Barbara Rainey
There is a big difference between everyday interruptions, nuisances, and stress and life-altering calamities. Susanna Wesley, who wrote the words of the prayer above, was a woman who knew intimately the painful crush of afflictions and loss.
Twice the parsonage she shared with her husband, Samuel, and their children was burned, reducing nearly all they owned to smoldering ashes. She lived in an era when any relief from winter’s cold came from fireplaces in their home, so sadly house fires were not uncommon.
Neither was infant and childhood death a rare experience as it is for most families in our day. Of her 18 children, only 10 survived to adulthood. This woman knew grief, poverty and daily survival battles most of us never will.
And yet she prayed that her great sufferings and hardships would draw her closer to her Savior.
Does that strike you as odd? For a woman who understands who God is and appreciates His purposes for us, it is not only the right response—it is a wise response.
Henri Nouwen helps us see life more clearly even when our hearts are hurting. He wrote, “Every time there are losses there are choices to be made. You choose to live your losses as passages to anger, blame, hatred, depression and resentment, or you choose to let these losses be passages to something new, something wider, and deeper.”
If Susanna asked in faith that her difficulties, her losses, her pain might tug her heart more closely to Christ, then shouldn’t I? Shouldn’t you?
In both our more ordinary disappointments and in our dark hours of suffering, may we call unto Him who alone can bring good out of tragedy.
My favorite hymn says, Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, It is well, It is well, with my soul.
Choose thanks today for your lot—to Him alone who can center our souls.