Recently I’ve been living with and contemplating struggle and suffering in this life. I preached on it this past Sunday in regards to Israel’s wandering in the wilderness. It’s always interesting the way things come together and how God uses people and circumstances. I wasn’t aware of it, but Sunday was to be a very heavy day. I should have had an inkling towards this when I felt so hit by things on my drive in on Sunday morning. The thirty minute drive I make is usually the time when all my study, reflection, and prayers for the week’s sermon culminate in me breaking down a little bit. Perhaps through the tears shed on that drive I should have seen the day ahead of me.
Without going into detail, the day was full of struggle and suffering. I was told by various people from various places in my life of their troubles. Death, sickness, divorce, cancer, and everything in between was told to me. And this was before 1pm. Then for the Dinner and Discussion group we have, a buddy of mine came in to tell us of the sacrifices he and his wife have had to make in regards to their terminally ill son. Let’s just say, it was a long day.
Awhile ago I downloaded Jenny and Tyler‘s album, Faint Not, from Noisetrade. The title track, Faint Not, is a great tune, which reminds us of our struggle to push through the struggles. The video for it is above. As you listen, focus in on the third verse that begins with, “Where there is hatred…”. Those lines are taken from a prayer for peace by St. Francis of Assisi.It is an unbelievable prayer focused on our response to suffering and struggle. We usually pray for God to be with people and to bless them. What if he is saying, “I will. I am sending you. You need to be with them and bless them.”
Would you pray this prayer of his with me?
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.