1.Have you experienced God’s faithfulness at a difficult time? Tell as much or as little as you like…
I’m sitting across a table in the hotel lobby at Land O’Lakes from the mother of a third-year student who spoke to me from the heart about the beauty of this place, which, like hers, is both an inner and outer light. God could not have sent a more appropriate angel to me this morning.
2. Have you experienced a dark night of the soul, if so what brought you through?
I’ve written before about suffering a severe post-partum depression. The turning point for me came in the action of another angel, The Very Tiny Little Princess. Her father brought her to see me in the hospital. We sat on chairs in a corridor, and my baby, 9 months old, "cruised" from her father’s knees to mine, while sucking on a Mams pacifier. She looked me in the eye, and a look crossed her face, and she took the pacifier out of her mouth and put it in mine.
At that moment I knew I must find the strength to be well and to be fully her mother, to be the carer-for rather than the cared-for person. I had a long journey to face, but at every step on the way I remembered my little daughter’s caring gesture and knew I could continue.
Ah, this one is easy. Psalm 46 is my favorite, a source of strength in all sorts of struggling times. A favorite seminary professor gave a lecture called "The Glad River," and it stayed with me.
Here are verses 1-7.
1God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
2Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
3though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult. Selah
4There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High.
5God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved; God will help it when the morning dawns.
6The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts.
7The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah
Certainly. Some suffering seems so clearly undeserved, it’s human to question it. And we need to wrestle with the randomness of the difficulties we may face, rather than assuming God delivers punishments large and small to teach us a lesson. For me the question is not "why am I being punished with this suffering?" but "What may I learn from this sadness in my life, and how may I become more fully myself, in relationship with God, through it?"
Hmm. Since I generally don’t sleep well in times of trial, I would have to say a good night’s sleep!