Yesterday we focused on how sometimes negative things can keep us from developing a spirit of gratitude that we know is healthier for many things, both physically and spiritually. In a way it seems that this lesson about gratitude, especially with the unexpected star being a Samaritan, is serving as a preparation for negative days for the disciples.
When we are going through something that is very difficult, we can forget what pleasant things are even like. It is like a verse, I think it is in Proverbs, which serves as a prayer. “Lord, in times of adversity, let me never forget prosperity. And in times of prosperity, let me never forget adversity.”
In other words, we are at our best when we can be somewhat balanced, so that we neither give into despair or take the love of God for granted. We should always long for the presence of God in our lives. And when we face those challenges in life that inevitably are a part of our lives, it helps when we can acknowledge those times when the grace of God was so clear.
When has God let you down? Really? It may be that something, even something very important, may be a prayer not answered by God. But can we really know whether something for which we pray is really in our best interest? I used to say, when I was on a committee which advised the Bishop about priest assignments that often the assignment that brought the least joy was that very assignment we thought we wanted. And, conversely, the assignment that we remember with great joy and affection can be that assignment we never even thought about.
Tough days are ahead for the disciples. We know they will not always do so well in remembering the presence of Jesus never really leaves them. So too, there could be times in our life when we suffer as well. When we can remember that Jesus is always with us, we will be comforted by the reality that we are never really alone.