In times of crisis, trust in God and in each other

Some years ago Nayda Cole wrote an article for the Park Ridge Center’s journal Making the Rounds about a major geological discovery. Apparently in the late 1970s the existence of a thin dark layer of clay marking the boundary between the earth’s Cretaceous and Tertiary periods was found. The clay line contained high levels of the element iridium, rare on the surface of our planet, which suggested that the iridium had been deposited on earth by a collision with an asteroid from outer space. The thin black line which the collision produced exists all over the planet and marks a significant change for our earth. Many plants and animals that had been dominant for millions of years before the great collision simply disappeared and were replaced by quite different forms. The thin black line provides dramatic evidence of a catastrophe providing an opportunity for adaptation previously not possible.
Cole concluded her article by saying, “For those of us struggling to come to terms with some difficulty, there is also a thin black line laid down, albeit not a visible one, perhaps. Be the disaster cosmic or personal, thin black lines are not laid down easily. But they do mark a milestone on our journey from a dead-end state, to a more adapted one.”
Can you look back across the years and note a thin black line laid down at some critical juncture of your life? If so, the thin black line probably marks a turning point for you that followed a hardship or disaster. Was someone there to witness the event and to help you make necessary adaptations after the impact of that catastrophe? Did someone help you find a new direction after you reached what seemed to be a dead end?
For many years we have been privileged to take part in a weekly prayer group in our congregation. Prayer requests are trustingly submitted by the congregation and the group prays for each and every need offered to us. The beauty of the system is that no one need be alone to pick up the pieces when something hits like an asteroid from out of the blue. Instead, as a sacred trust, we pray for one another about whatever event may be troubling, worrying or frightening us. And over time we have witnessed adaptation and renewal as God leads lives in new directions and grants new beginnings.
Perhaps our all-time favorite prayer request was the one offered in childish printing, complete with misspellings. It read, “Hello, God. This is Valerie. Remember me.” The simplicity of that prayer should not mask our recognition of its wisdom. Whenever we fear that a crisis or catastrophe might overwhelm us, we do well to entrust ourselves to one another’s care and God’s care. Our problems may lay down a thin black line across the face of our lives, but we can grow beyond those problems into new and fresh and meaningful possibilities by trustingly enlisting God’s help. Ages and stages of our lives come and they go, but through them all, God remembers us.

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