The world is upside down. We struggle every day to make sense of the happenings in the world. We reach, gasping for breath, hungry for hope. We reach, but many days come away empty. We feel at the mercy of events that spiral out of control – because we truly do have no control. We have only ourselves, our faith, our God. So where is God anyway? As someone who has survived trauma, I know there are moments in life where God cannot be found.
When I reach for hope, I find I keep coming back to these three quotes for comfort. They are simple, profound, and reassuring. They remind me that almost everything we experience has happened before, but the human race survives, faith persists, and somehow we go on.
The first is from Martin Luther King, Jr:
The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
The moral universe being that which is the ultimate compass of what is right and what is wrong. Bending toward justice reminds us that when pain and suffering is caused, the tilt in the moral compass must be righted at some point. The Universe will bring justice to the situation, perhaps not in our time or in a way we recognize, but it will. We can look back and see this at work in the past, and we must cling to this truth in the present.
The second is from Julian of Norwich, a Christian mystic of the 14th Century. She wrote a passage I clung to when the pandemic started and still repeat it almost every day for comfort!
“All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well… For there is a Force of love in the Universe that holds us close and will never let us go.”
The force of Love moving through the Universe is whatever you call God. God does hold us close and never lets us go. But how shall things be well? That’s all relative, isn’t it? For some, it’s making enough this month to pay the bills; for a refugee, it’s a warm bed and a meal. For others, it’s winning one day in the battle of depression; for another, it’s surviving a night of shelling. For some, it’s being accepted by your family for who you are; for another, it’s being treated fairly and without prejudice. If you’ve survived trauma you know, there will eventually be days that all is well. They come, and will come again, in whatever form it takes. Have faith that God is holding us close.
The third quote is from author Jennifer Worth, who wrote “Call the Midwife.” As the Mother Superior counsels a young nurse who is distraught over something that happened and questioning God’s presence, she tells her this:
“God isn’t in the event. God is in the response to the event. In the love that is shown and the care that is given.”
This, for me, is perhaps the most comforting of all. Of course, God is not in events of human atrocity and cruelty. But look at the response. Look at the ICU nurses and doctors holding the hands of the dying during the pandemic, working tirelessly to save lives. Look at the Eastern European countries opening their homes to Ukrainian refugees without pause. Look at any disaster, and look at the response. There you find God. Hands-on God. Practical, tangible God!
Here is where we find hope. In each other.
These are my quotes that bring me peace of mind in troubled times. What are yours? Please share in the comments! The more we can ease each other’s hearts, minds, and souls, the better. These times can be exhausting – let’s hold each other up.