“All will be well. And all manner of things shall be exceedingly well.”
( Julian of Norwich, Mystic)
There is a popular daily devotional book that I often use in my morning prayer that contains wonderful reflections around the theme of the Scripture readings for the day. This week I was struck by a reflection from 14th century Mystic, Julian of Norwich. The overall focus of this excerpt, which was written in 1393, dealt with the certainty that despite the “trials, tribulations or stress, you (we) will not be overcome. All will be well. All manner of things shall be exceedingly well.” I found that this message of the Spirit to a 14th century mystic truly resonated with me as I reflected on the devastating and challenging events taking place in our world in September 2017.
“All will be well”—and not just “well,” we are told, but “exceedingly well.” I sat in silence for a while and let the words wash over me. Then I recalled other words—words from Scripture that encourage us to trust, even in times of turmoil. “In this world there will be trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) I am not ashamed to say that faith has been my saving grace in dealing with the realities of 2017. In the face of current national realities, remembering messages of faith and the good news of the Gospel has been essential to maintaining an open and hopeful perspective of the future.
What is the landscape of the future that I see unfolding? Globally, the landscape includes natural disasters, terrorism and exploitation of the poor. Nationally, we are standing on the threshold of nuclear war and the U.S. is witnessing wide scale resurgence of deep divisions involving poverty, immigration, racism and nationalism all being propelled by power, money and fear. The “wild card” in this mix is a U.S. President who is “at war with the truth” and seeks to shape the nation, and indeed the world, in his own “fearful and nationalistic” image. Consequently, the landscape of the global and national future that I see unfolding is a landscape I must travel as one “walking by faith and not by sight.” Such reminders like the one revealed to Julian of Norwich serve as seeds of encouragement and as divine Light for the path.
What keeps you centered in times of stress or confusion? How do you navigate your way through turmoil and anxiety to clarity and peace? The answers to these questions are probably different for each of us. My answer generally comes down to trying to find God in the midst of what my grandmother used to call, “going through.” My word would simply be “faith” and perhaps the answer would be the same for you. It is faith that helps me to find comfort in the words, “All will be well” when the landscape of the future might seem to reflect chaos and division. If we peer closer into the turmoil, we will also see signs of divine Light—people helping people in the hour of their deepest need. Because of our hope in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we can be assured that eventually, all will, indeed, be well.
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