A 17th century monk named Brother Lawrence once wrote to someone he knew was suffering through the pain of a physical illness. In his letter, Brother Lawrence suggested that his friend fight the normal human urge to focus inward during his suffering. Rather, he wrote:
“Take courage; offer God your pains incessantly; pray to God for strength to endure them. Above all, make a habit of entertaining yourself often with God, and forget God the least you can. Adore God in your infirmities, offer yourself to God from time to time, and in the height of your sufferings beseech God humbly and affectionately… to make you conformed to his holy will.”
In times of physical illness, we usually focus on ourselves, our situation, and our pain. The timeless wisdom of this humble man of faith says instead to offer our situation and pain to God. Pursue God’s presence Brother Lawrence encourages, in order to offer ourselves to God.
It’s the same way in most situations of major life change (negative or positive). Our default in critical moments of life is to focus inward, leaving little or no room for anything else… including God. But if in our critical moments we intentionally focus outward and upward instead of inward, it changes us. It changes what we see. It changes what we seek. It changes what we do. It changes us, as we make room for God to be in control.
Click here to listen to more (July 19 sermon).
Your partner on the journey,