Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
There are two ways that we can respond to difficulties and unfairness in life with our relationship with God. We can cut ourselves off from God. Typically, we do this because we connect God directly with our troubles. We assume that God can help but that God has chosen not to. So we become angry and remove ourselves from God’s hope of connection with us.
“If that is who God is, then I want nothing to do with God!” I have had spoken to me on more than one occasion (often from my own grief). Unfortunately, these words do little to change who God is. The only thing that happens is that we cut ourselves off from discovering the ways that we are wrong.
The other response we can have to the difficulties and unfairness in life is to press closer to God. This Sunday, we heard the ways King David pressed closer into God in the most trying circumstances. David clung to God even though the loss of his child was directly connected to God’s words to him.
We have to turn to the apostle Paul to understand fully what David gained by choosing to press into God. Instead of clinging to his worries and fears, David turned to God in prayer. With prayer and fasting, David let his requests be made known to God. In the process he discovered God in the midst of loss.
One might respond by pointing out that David still experienced loss. This is true. It is also true that David would have experienced loss either way: pressed close to or cut off from God. But with God he experienced two things he would have missed otherwise. He experienced God’s peace. He was able to worship in the midst of tears. And, he experienced hope. With God, he knew that he would ultimately be reunited with his child again (2 Samuel 12:23, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14). His loss did not become the defining reality of his life. Instead it was swallowed up in his ultimate hope in God.
Times of difficulty and unfairness will come to us in this life. God makes himself present to us in every moment in the Presence of the Holy Spirit. Lean into God no matter the circumstances. Do not cling to worry, instead, cling to God. Allow his peace and hope to bear you through your trials.
Jesus, we ask you this day for tenacity. We are tempted to become angry at you. We are tempted to mistake who you are in the midst of the unfairness of life. Give us the tenacity to cling to you in prayer and in faith. Thus, reveal to us the depth of your character toward us. Bear us up in your Presence. In Jesus’ name, Amen.