It’s been a weird period of life lately. Earlier this year, I had this strange sense in prayer that I was entering a time in life where God was going to be extremely jealous for me, holding me close, unwilling to share me with anyone else. And so the year has progressed, and one illness, or emergency, or tragedy after another has forced me homebound and frequently alone with Him. I’m sad about the events of life right now, but I have little bitterness toward Him because I feel so loved underneath everything. I still relish Our time together. In my whole adult life, I have found that my worst day in the presence of Christ is still better than my best day without Him. The rare gift of being able to fall into His arms in the middle of tragedy, of growing closer to Him, of needing and receiving Him more than ever: these are beautiful things. I used to wake up in the middle of the night or early morning from nightmares, and lay there and talk through them with Jesus. It was a tender and loving time. And so on, the longer I know Jesus, the more I see that many things Satan meant for bad have actually wound up drawing me much closer and much more comfortable with Christ.
Brother Lawrence, in The Practice of the Presence of God, put it best: “[sic] if we are really serving the Lord it should make no difference to us whether following Him brings us great pleasure or some pain”.
Here, again, I hear my former self perceiving these words with inaccuracy. ‘What a good attitude that Christian person has, trying to cheer themselves up,’ I would have thought. But it’s not an attitude, nor is it a stretching of the truth. It really is better to suffer in the arms of Christ than to live a good life without knowing Him; or as Jesus put it. “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” (Matthew 16:26)