Some moments are easier to embrace than others. Some moments are full of joy, capturing innocence and exultation – that moment of complete surrender as bride and groom exchange vows, looking deep into each other’s eyes with love and promise, that moment of satisfied exhaustion as the pain of labour is forgotten in the joy of holding the newborn baby. But it’s harder to embrace the moment when the beloved snaps tetchily and a full-blown row escalates, leaving us fearful, angry and resentful or when the snuggly baby screams incessantly and vomits all over for the nth time in 24 hours, leaving us exhausted and desperate. It’s harder to embrace the moment as we lie in bed feeling ill and lifeless, nausea wracking us and robbing us of sleep. Such moments seem impossible to embrace.
Richard Rohr comments that God deals with reality, with what is. Jean-Pierre de Caussade, an 18th century Jesuit, said it’s key to want God ‘as God is, not as we imagine or would like Him to be.’ This is the key to embracing the moment, as we understand afresh who God is.
God is love. He is good. He works in all circumstances for our good. The disasters and catastrophes of life – and there are plenty of these, often striking us with breath-taking swiftness – can be embraced with gladness, not because they are good, but because He is.
To embrace the moment means to pause and to breathe God in, no matter what. As we do this, He then pours in grace and the capacity to carry on. We can then exhale gratitude and learn to give thanks for everying in all circumstances. (Eph 5:20, 1 Thess 5:18).