When my loved ones and I are saddened by trials or misfortunes, I often find myself saying, “Well, at least…” and then naming a few reasons to be grateful.
While isolating during the pandemic, I would say to Jim, “Well, at least we have our nice cozy home and each other.” When plans fall apart, I cling to the hope, “Well, at least we can try again next year.” When I fail to achieve a desired outcome, I convince myself, “Well, at least I tried my best.” When I had cancer, I inwardly thought, “Well, at least I have had a good life… at least I was able to raise my family… at least Jim and I had a few wonderful years together.”
This may make me sound like an optimist, always looking toward the bright side of life. In reality I’m only trying to cheer and console myself, as well as those who share my frustration, disappointment, or sadness. Life can be so very difficult, especially in those times when our troubles cannot be resolved or reduced; when the only peace we can find is in holding gratitude for what remains.
But this morning I was deeply reassured and comforted by this awareness:
Even if we were to lose every earthly gift we have, even if we were to face our worst trials yet, even if we were reduced down to our very “least” – whether our possessions, health, loved ones, or life itself – we will STILL have God. In every circumstance, we can confidently say, “Well, at least we have God.”
And God is our best; God is our most! When we are down to our very least, we will still have our very most!
We will always have God – who is our primary, essential, utmost need. We will always have God – who is our source of power, comfort, peace, joy, hope, and love. We will always have God – who makes all things new, who restores and resurrects, who is life itself. In God, we have everything and more. For eternity. With everyone. Our amazing God is both the source and the reason for our peace, trust, and hope.
In addition, I have discovered that when I am down to my least, I can more clearly feel and see God’s “most.” My desperation opens me to feel God’s mercy and love more deeply. My grief moves me to rest in God’s comfort and peace more securely. My frustration leads me to cling to God’s power and plan more fully. Whatever life may bring, I can trust that God will make good, God will be my everything, God will remain my “most.”
I am reminded of Paul, who endured so many hardships and pain in his life, and yet he wrote,
Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him… (Philippians 3:7-9a NRSV)
Whatever this day may bring, God will remain. Wherever our path takes us, God will go with us. Whenever we are reduced to our very least, God will always, always be our very most.
(Photo by Karen)