“Assist us mercifully, O Lord, in these our supplications and prayers, and dispose the way of thy servants towards the attainment of everlasting salvation; that, among all the changes and chances of this mortal life, they may ever be defended by thy gracious and ready help; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (Collect for Protection, BCP 1979, pg. 832)
The phrase “The changes and chances of this mortal life…” has always leapt off the page since I was about 9 years old.
All of us, since we are limited and cannot just step out of the universe, respond/react to challenge out of whatever matrix governs our life. (No, I am not a relativist. I do believe that we have the ability to “know” the truth. It is just that it must come from outside of us. The truth, if it is to be known, must be received not discovered or grasped [stolen].) That matrix may be based on the truth or delusion. Whichever it is, it serves as the source of our sense of reality and the basis upon which we respond. The journey of spiritual transformation in Christ Jesus is one of dying to the false matrix and being born to the true one (see the movie “Matrix”).
We all experience times when we are being pressured so as to move us “off center” or out of our “comfort zone.” Challenge has certainly been (and is) characteristic not only of the life of our family but the life of all of our friends as well.
While reading today’s reflection in my newly acquired copy of “Forward Day by Day,” the author quotes the American short story author, Flannery O’Connor.
“At its best our age is an age of searchers and discoverers, and, at its worst, an age that has domesticated despair and learned to live with it happily.”
The commentator offered wonderfully practical advice on how to respond to challenge based on Psalm 77. The reflection in its entirety can be found at the link offered above. I highly recommend it.
Of course, as with any pithy reflection, it sets me off on a search for more pithy reflections like it in my attempt to drive the point deeper into my soul so it has an opportunity to be integrated into a new matrix of truth (righteousness and life) and dis-integrate the old matrix of delusion (sin and death).
I found two blog posts that provided helpful perspective. They are “Yet I Will Rejoice” and “Life, Death, Despair, and Your Brand New Car.” (Not having read any other posts by these authors, I cannot recommend anything else they have written.)
God Bless you today as you navigate the challenges of your life. I pray we all will have the courage to embrace them as opportunities for deep transformation – conformity to the likeness of Christ Jesus.