loss a couple of years ago. Though we had spoken several times since
then, I finally asked him directly how he was coping. It was
heartening to hear how far he'd progressed in his grieving process,
and how he was able to see the whole experience as something that had
strengthened his relationship with God.
As I heard my friend out, and chimed in occasionally about difficult
times I had gone through myself, I realized just how significant
"wilderness" times are in the process of making a Christian. Those
seasons in which we are so shaken as to doubt God's very existence, or
even worse His goodness, when we feel as though we've been thrown down
a very deep pit with no hope for getting out, such that our strength
wanes and our desire dissipates.
Far from being evidence of God's non-existence or cruelty, they are a
demonstration of His Fatherly love. And my conversation with my
friend made more meaningful the fact that to be a Christian is not to
have an escape route from life's ills, but to have a strong and steady
Comforter to carry us through them. I thank God for carrying me
through my wildernesses, and for holding my friend's hand through his.