“When you open your hand, you satisfy the hunger and thirst of every living thing. The Lord is righteous in everything he does; he is filled with kindness.”
Psalm 145:16-17 NLT

One word that has become significant over the years I’ve followed Jesus is “discernment”. It’s all about distinguishing that which is of God from that which I might like to hope is God. Sometimes the reality of what I discern is not as appetising as what I’d hoped for. So my desire to deepen my friendship with God included pain, which I did not expect. Yet, on reflection this route realised a fuller experience of the presence and reality of the God I worship.

Now, for any who think pain equates to spiritual growth or godliness, let me say clearly this isn’t what I mean. There are, however, events in our lives that, depending upon how we address them, can draw us closer to God or drive us away.

As a child my dad used to hold out two clenched hands and invite me to choose. One would contain some small gift such as a sweet, the other would be empty. Yet, sometimes he held a gift in both hands. I was to choose, and could not guarantee if I would choose the right one. So it is with God. In turning my back I cannot see two extended arms each with a clenched hand concealing a surprise. However, once I’ve worked through my indignation, rage and fear, in turning back to God, I have the opportunity to discover God’s way, even though my initial decision and course of action may be wrong.

I find the freedom I need in the provision that comes from God’s hand. My circumstances have not changed. My attitude and perspective has. What I took to be unkindness by God is in fact a means of deepening my appreciation of him along with my friendship with him. So discerning – that is, distinguishing the blessing from the pain – is the critical exercise I am invited to enter into.

What is in God’s hand for your sustenance upon this section of your Christian journey?

Heavenly Father, thank you that even when I make wrong choices you guide me back to the right path.