GOD’S PRESENCE IN SUFFERING

This year I’m using a book called ‘Sacred Space’ to give some shape to my spiritual life.   It’s very simple – each week starts with a short reflection, then there are some suggestions about using the time to draw closer to God and listen to him.  Each day there’s a short Bible passage, followed by a couple of points to ponder.

Today’s introduction to the week was so simple and yet it packed a punch.  The writer says:

“About eleven years ago, I began to study as a mature-age student – and an angry one at that.  The anger was because of a perceived absence of God in the suffering of people I have loved.  I hoped that my study might resolve my problem, but … cancer attacked me.   Thus, as it turned out, the last essay I wrote was on Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane” (where he prays that his Father would take the cup of suffering away from him).

“The night before the operation was possibly the worst experience of my life.  I was alone and terrified.  There was the operation ahead, the possibility that I might not come out the other side of it, and the reality that there was no escape.  Then suddenly I was in Gethsemane, and there was a Presence, a very powerful Presence, beside me, which lifted and supported me firmly and gently.  It was not a cosy Presence, but one that sustained me and gave me courage and assurance that no matter what the outcome, all would be well.  That Presence was still with me when I came to after the operation.

The experience of that Presence remains with me, and I now know that God is with us always, but particularly in tthe dark moments when there is nothing else.

So, you see, I have had the answer to my furious  questions, not through reading, listening and writing but through a personal experience that I would never have chosen and indeed, never expected.”

It reminds me of what Archbishop Justin said, when he was talking about the time his baby daughter died:
http://godschool.blog.co.uk/2013/03/28/gethsemane-prayer-when-the-answer-is-not-what-you-desperately-want-15686062/

Sacred Space is also a website at http://www.sacredspace.ie.  It has over 5 million visits each year from Christians of all denominations.  It’s updated daily and compatible with smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices. 

(image from manifestedharmony.com)

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17 thoughts on “GOD’S PRESENCE IN SUFFERING

    1. Yes Lilo :yes: – and somehow, having an Archbish who has gone through that, makes us all a bit more aware of him as a person. I read that Pope Francis lost some of his family recently – again, it made him seem more human – not that he seems inhuman, quite the reverse – I’m a big fan!!! … but you know what I mean … 🙄

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      1. Well,I wonder if He/It is always there but when we are well and busy we don’t notice.Or is it when ill we float nearer to the edge of our world? And nearer some bigger reality.I just hope everyone finds it when they are near death or severe danger… because this life is only a film it’s not the Whole.I am certain.:)

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      2. Yes, Jesus promises to be with us always – but most of the time we think we are so self-sufficient we don’t ‘need’ him. But that isn’t the point!

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      3. I wasn’t referring to what you said, Kate. It was a more general comment, about how we have a tendency to forget about God when things are going well, and only remember him when they are not. But although we may forget him, he never forgets us …

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      4. My view now is that we should seek God by helping others and also ourselves.. compassion.If God should become manifest in some way then we must accept it…Or do you mean we must always think about Jesus’ teaching.I can’t think about God all day while going for cancer treatment or taking my husband for his…Anayway just ignore this.I am too tired to think peoperly

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      5. I’m sorry that you’re struggling with cancer treatment. I hope it is effective quickly. My best wishes to you both for greater health in the future.

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  1. I don’t know how I missed that interview first time around.
    Thanks for sharing. I will have a look at that website too.
    I hope that your book is bringing comfort in your own situation. Xxx

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