Facing Reality

The following excerpt and prayer is from Disguises of Love by Eddie Askew.

As Christians, we must face the reality of the world. We can’t delude ourselves over the activity of evil or pretend that it’s all God’s will. We don’t know why some people suffer much more than others and why some break under it. But we do know that God is with us, even though sometimes we know it only in retrospect. Looking back, we see that, through the suffering, love was at work in one of his many disguises. Love is often hard to recognise, so close to the suffering that he’s hard to identify. So hard that we attribute to him the suffering itself, instead of thanking him for his presence and strength. We can find him in and through the suffering, love’s disguises slowly dissolving as we recognise his presence. Not necessarily justifying the suffering but turning it towards good.

Lord, I spend a lot of time

talking to you about myself.

I have so many needs.

Help me today to think of others.

I pray for people weighed down by worry.

Anxious people, who don’t know where to turn.

Who don’t know whose door to knock on,

bewildered by what life has brought.

Knocked off balance by the suffering and inequality

they meet at every step.

People without choices,

whose only way is down.

Somehow, Lord, in the turmoil of survival,

in the questioning and the doubt,

show yourself to them.

Let them find you, not in the abstract,

not in the smooth words of the practised preacher,

but in a hand held out to help.

In shared tears, and in the silence

that says everything without words.

May they recognise your purposes for them,

and learn that your will for them is good.

Help us, each one of us,

to face things as they are.

And though the world has forgotten the architect’s plans,

though the builders ignore the blueprint,

and the foundations shake with every pressure,

shelter us with your presence.

Help us to see you at work

not only in the good days

but in the bad,

and to know, beyond doubt,

not through others’ words but our own experience,

that you work together with us.

For good.

Then, Lord, our praise will be real,

our joy deep.

Eddie Askew (1927-2007), former general director of the Leprosy Mission who dedicated his life to the relief of leprosy all over the world.

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