Today we continue to move through a global crisis of pandemic that remains local as well. Hard questions have surfaced regarding suffering, responsibility and freedom, our limitations in knowledge and control, caring for the vulnerable, and more. What are the challenges you face: emotional weariness, physical isolation, illness, financial stress, parenting children completing the school year at home, caring for parents from a distance, navigating a loss of work or significant change in your work? What temptations have surfaced? What gifts have surprised you? What creativity has emerged? Join me in seeking to pay attention and engage these things with God. Remember, God calls you by name (Is. 45:3).
Divine Hands is a book that engages some of the big questions that are in the forefront now. If you desire to engage some of those questions join me for a book club using Divine Hands to launch our discussion and our prayer. The first chapter begins by diving deep into our experience of darkness. We can experience darkness as we are immersed in uncertainty, tumbled by suffering, captured by shame, and more. But God's presence is steady in the darkness.
We are held by God today... even as we gaze at the long road ahead of us and find that it is immersed in the darkness of uncertainty.
(See the excerpt below from Divine Hands)
"Darkness is part of the human experience. God created the world out of darkness, and God knit us together in the darkness of the womb. God has authored beautiful things in the dark, but it is also the place where evil has executed its deception and destruction. Even the physical world descends into darkness each night. But the night is not endless, and it emerges into light once again with the coming of dawn. Sometimes darkness is the place of mystery. It is simply the realm of the unknown where we are reminded that we are limited and we lack control. Whether in the dark or in the light, God’s presence is our deepest reality… always. So even the darkness is God’s dwelling place whether God’s presence is tangible or not.
When darkness descends in our lives it can be overwhelming, terrifying, or, at the least, disconcerting. Do you remember your experience of the night as a child, the time of day when the lights went out? When has the darkness been the most frightening in your story? What does your heart long for in the dark? The edges are blurred when the light grows dim. And if the dusky grey turns to the blackest black, it may seem as though the darkness has no limit and no end. It is one of the places we feel small and fearful. We long for a sense of our surroundings that assures our hearts that we are secure. Imagine being held by One who is strong and confident—in the darkness you are held by God.
Where there is little or no light there is obscurity and diminished understanding. In darkness we collide with limitations and our humanity: emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually. Grief snuffs out the light when we are confronted with loss. Crisis and hardship sweep in like a storm, and clouds of suffering block the light. When isolation is our most familiar companion, darkness descends, and our heart longs for the light that emerges when we know that we are loved. And what of the darkness that threatens a life because of unhealed wounds from seasons long gone? There are times when the trauma of the past chases us across time and casts a heavy shadow over the present.
As I reflect on my life, I see seasons where the light grew dim and the darkness grew heavy. There were times that my choices of sin and my sense of shame shaped my experience of the dark. There were times it was a result of suffering, grief, or oppression—this world is broken. And sometimes the darkness reflected the silence of God and a painful but meaningful invitation to deeper trust.
The first image in the Divine Hands series is a child held in the hands of God. She is self-protectively curled inward. One cannot discern from her posture if she is aware of the hands surrounding her. Yet even in the darkness she is held, and she is not alone..." (Divine Hands, Chapter 1, pp 11-12)
Divine Hands Book Club
Are you interested in connecting around the themes in Divine Hands?
Join us for 6 weeks.
What does it mean to experience and lean into the presence of God in
suffering, joy, prayer, growth, opposition, and more?
I am considering gathering via Zoom on Thursday evenings late spring beginning June 4.
If you are interested let me know.
The book can be purchased on Amazon.
If you are local you can purchase from me.
Video Introduction to Divine Hands