This prayer moves me. It shakes me out of myopia.
Somehow, when my momentary world feels depressing—even crushing—it helps me realize that what I am experiencing is in fact a chapter rather than the end of the book. My own storyline has been woven with far more heartache and grief than I could have imagined, much of which I would have proclaimed “not survivable” if I had known ahead of time it was coming. But then I find perspective in this prayer from Susanna, who birthed 17 or 18 children, yet watched helplessly as 10 of them died in varied circumstances. I cannot comprehend the grief of losing even one, though I have watched my own daughter Rebecca suffer through the loss of her firstborn, Molly.
Recently I learned about a young mother of four, Kara Tippetts, who has written a book about her experience amidst her battle with breast cancer. Her perspective is startling and unexpected. Every day is hard, she says, but there are good moments on hard days. Kara has been dealt a hand seemingly too heavy to bear, but she is choosing to relish those good moments. You can watch her most recent video, a brave, gentle sharing entitled “Stripped Bald.”
After watching her share so personally and without any shame over her hairless head, I asked myself, “why do we believe life should be easy, happy and always good?” I can only conclude it is our selfishness in wanting a pain free life. But very importantly it is also because we were made for heaven and our hearts know it well. Kara and my Rebecca, much like Susanna Wesley, have learned—as have so many women—the great joy in noticing God’s kind, generous hand that blesses us with goodness upon goodness even on hard days. It’s the noticing that we easily forget to do.
Today, if you are in a hard place like one of these women, will you still survey the landscape of your life? Will you say with us, “yes, there have been more mercies than afflictions,” and then, like Susanna close your prayer with gratitude by saying, “Glory be to Thee, O Lord”? May God’s Spirit help us keep this correct perspective.