Written by Alison Buttrick Patton
"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" – Mark 15:34
One night during Lent our basement flooded. We spent seven hours bailing water, attempting to stem the surge.
As I lugged bucket after bucket out into the rain, water soaked my boots, arm muscles groaned and rain filled my eyes. It got me thinking: What would it be like to weather a real flood? Not six inches in the basement, but enough water to wash away a house? What would it be like to labor on a sandbag brigade all night, working against the clock and the rising tide? When trouble strikes, it is impulse to ask, "Why me?" It's something of a spiritual discipline to ask instead, "What's it like for others?"
Truly, none of us knows what awaits us – a week from now, or an hour from now: whether the creek will rise or the crops will fail; whether the earth will shake or the reactor will fail; whether war will erupt or the movement will fail. The challenge may be to connect – with one another and with God – every day, to listen to each other's stories of pain and healing. Then, when trials loom, we can respond not by despairing, but by banding together, confident that God is at work – even in the dark, even in the flood. God has something in store for us…maybe even a resurrection.
Dear God: There are trials, and then there are trials. Help me to tell the difference. Deliver me from whining, and lead me in the way of generous living, for all our sakes. Amen.
Alison J. Buttrick Patton is the Pastor of Saugatuck Congregational Church, UCC, Westport, Connecticut.