| By Bill Green
The book of Revelation along with much of the Bible says, “Don’t be afraid of anything you may suffer.” Suffering is part of the life of faith simply because it’s part of life, period. Faith is no escape or a good luck charm. It’s no guarantee that we will suffer less or face fewer problems. It is the promise that God’s got our backs-and more! St. Patrick prayed every day about the Lord being “with me, within me, behind me, before me, beside me to win me, to comfort and restore me; beneath me, above me, in quiet, in danger, in hearts of all that love me, in mouth of friend and stranger.”
A Muslim (Sufi) story says a lot about knowing this. “Help me find God,” a seeker begged the Elder. “No one can help you there,” the Elder answered. “Why not?” the seeker insisted. “For the same reason that no one can help a fish find the ocean.”
God is a constant presence. In hard times we endure after all. In strength we thought we didn’t have. In confidence we thought we lacked. In hope and blessing we long for. Faith isn’t about something we must attain. It’s about what’s already true and present right now awaiting recognition: God, along with trust, confidence, strength and courage-all power waiting to be acknowledged and engaged.
How did you get through the nightmares you’ve known? The loss of someone dearly loved. Times of challenge at work. Times when family life was out of control. Periods of loneliness and confusion. And what of the surprises when things you most worried about worked out after all. Or times when you were simply happy for no reason at all.
We’ll never know what we have if we don’t remember what we’ve known before. Named or not, we have known the divine presence. As Frederick Buechner wrote, “God doesn’t sign his sunsets.” But God’s right there–here, too, with us, all the time.
This is what we prepare to celebrate again at Easter: the promise of new life meant to be ours, too, as we recognize all over again that not even death can separate us from the love of God.
May I remember your presence, God. You have always been who you are right now: my strength and my confidence. I will not be afraid, whatever I face. Amen.