While praying for a friend who is getting ready for surgery a famous quote came to mind from Julian of Norwich “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.” Although I’ve heard this quote before, it is not one of my personal favorites that I remember and quote often and so it was interesting that it came to mind. I’ve come to believe that coincidences are few and far between so instead I attributed the the quote to a prompting of the Spirit. But why this prompting, and why at this time?
Knowing I’m not an expert on Julian, I stopped to refresh myself on her story. Julian lived during the 14th century in a small cell attached to the church in Norwich. There she lived and prayed at days on end, rarely if ever leaving her small room apartment. While there she had visions or revelations from God. In one such vision Jesus came to her to address her question of why God did not prevent sin from ever appearing on the earth. While talking to Julian Jesus said it was necessary for there to be sin, but all shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well. With that Julian was at peace.
And so I thought again, why this prompting. I know all is in God’s hands, I know that even with pain and tragedy in the world that God is in control. As a minister I remind people on a weekly basis that what is real is not what we witness around us but what is real is a spiritual reality, and that our God is bigger than anything we will ever face or encounter. And yet the Spirit reminds, all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.
I write these words just days after the 12th anniversary of September 11th, a day I and others will never forget. A day when for many our world was forever changed. The brevity of life and the evil of the world quickly became reality as planes were used as bombs to kill and destroy. And even though it’s been twelve years later, and as time lingers we start to forget, having the anniversary brought all those memories back to the forefront and the question, when will terror strike again.
I write these words after reading a letter from a parent at Sandy Hook Elementary School. This particular parent has two children that were at the school during the shooting; one lived and one died. The letter was written to teachers everywhere encouraging them and reminding them of what an important role they play in the lives of children. And yet this letter brought back vivid memories of that day, of the terror and destruction brought about by evil. And even as I read I wanted to go grab my children and hug them and protect them and cherish every single moment.
I write these words while for the last couple of weeks the country that I live in has been trying to decide whether to act against Syria as a way to punish them for hurting their own people. And while I particularly don’t know the answer of what is best to do or not do in the situation I am reminded that the next war will eventually come at some point, maybe not with Syria, but with someone. And nation will rise against nation and it may be that my own children, as citizens of this nation may be forced to make a decision of whether to fight or not.
I write these words while many are still suffering from the economic collapse. Paychecks have been cut, bills have been raised, and we all start to wonder have we succumbed to the God of materialism and consumption without knowing it instead of being willing to have less so we can give more.
I write these words as countless friends and relatives are preparing for surgery, and while many of the surgeries are routine, there is always fear and apprehension on some level. And sickness and disease are just a reminder that this world is in peril and the earth is groaning in anticipation waiting for the redemption.
I write these words as many of us stress over an uncertain future and we worry and fret about what might be, knowing there is no way to control the outcome and no way to assume the outcome we fret about may even be a reality.
I write these words and I realize that while I talk a strong game of faith, I find myself consumed with so much, wondering why the world is the way it is, and worrying about things I have no control over . And as I recognize my own worries I hear the calming voice of the Spirit and I find peace in the words, “all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.”