Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Enduring II

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  -- I Corinthians 13:7
Yesterday I wrote about endurance and trusting God's love.  I want to continue that thought with what I think is a unique application of enduring in real life.

Meister Eckhart (c. 1260-1327), a German Christian mystic, wrote the following story.
A sick man was once asked why he did not beseech God to make him well again.  He replied that he was unwilling to do that for three reasons.  The first was that he was convinced that God in His love could not permit him to be ill if it were not for his own good.  (Meister Eckhart: Selected Writings, p. 91)
In a church and time where intercessory prayer is so often aimed at praying for healing sickness in others, it should give one pause to think of what this story suggests about bearing all things and enduring all things.  Now I suppose there is a huge difference to start with between praying for others versus praying for oneself.  So perhaps I push the lesson of the story too far to ponder whether I should pray for others' troubles?

So putting that aside, do you pray for your own healing?  What about this idea Fr. Eckhart posts that illness, and presumably all other troubles in life that come our way, are for our own good?  Does it change your perspective on your troubles to consider that God, acting out of a parent's love for us, grants us struggles for our own good?    It suggests that in the heart of our difficulties -- be they physical manifestations of poor health, or emotional turmoils, or spiritual wrestling -- there is a lesson we're to be hearing and learning.  Maybe the lesson is as simple as I wrote about yesterday - how to endure for sake of strength of character.  Maybe the lesson is something else.  What?

I find that thinking of some trouble I'm encountering as something God is giving to me for my own good transforms my energy from cursing and fighting the trouble, to embracing it and searching for a way to work with it, for the blessing it actually may be.  What do you think?  Comments are always welcome!

No comments:

Post a Comment