Yesterday the title of my morning's devotion was "No Sign will be Given except the Sign of Jonah." Which is referencing Luke 11:29 when Jesus said: "This is an evil age. It seeks a sign. But no sign will be given it except the sign of Jonah."
Richard Rohr wrote: "This is indeed unsatisfying. For it is not a sign at all, but more an anti-sign. It demands that we release ourselves into the belly of darkness before we can know what is essential. It insists that the spiritual journey is more like giving up control than taking control. It might even be saying that others will often throw us overboard, and that we get to the right shore by God's grace more than right action on our part."
Who wants to go into the belly of the whale? Not me. And yet, in our lives we cannot avoid it.
And I write this as I reflect on suffering of this season. Within 24 hours I learned of a dear friend who had lost a grandchld and another friend who was diagnosed with cancer. And yesterday I did a reiki treatment for a woman with pancreatic cancer. Which just reminded me of my father's cancer and my sister's cancer and Lisa Baluk's cancer. Suffering. Like living in the belly of darkness.
I am not personally suffering right now - but I have been through some dark times and what I know is that you do feel so alone.
I remember when I was in the worst of it during my divorce in Zanesville and finding that my only consolation was trusting in the presence of Jesus in the darkness. Somebody knows and cares. It was only later that I found out that the church had prayed for me more than I had ever known at the time.
My prayer for my grieving and suffering friends is that they might know that I pray for them. And that they are not alone.