Why I said “NO” to the Law Society

In October of last year, I wrote Lawyers Won’t Bow to Law Society. The article was published a few days after the then Law Society of Upper Canada, now called the Law Society of Ontario, announced that members’ individual annual reports for 2017 would include a new mandatory declaration:

I declare that I abide by a Statement of Principles that acknowledges my obligation to promote equality, diversity and inclusion generally, in my behaviour towards colleagues, employees, clients and the public.

Simply, tick the “Yes” box and all would be well. Opting to tick the “No” box would require explanation.

DonParlForum

In early consideration of the Law Society’s edict, I reflected on the origins of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Supreme Court of Canada’s robust definition of freedom of religion, and the Law Society benchers’ (board of directors) discriminatory decision in regard to Trinity Western University’s proposal to establish a school of law. The Law Society’s resolve was akin to a determination to impose a form of ideological tick box on TWU – intruding on the religious beliefs, as expressed in the TWU community covenant, of the religious institution in order for that religious institution to be permitted by the government regulatory body to provide a private religious education that meets or exceeds the government established standards for that education.

In Lawyers Won’t Bow, my conclusion was stated as,

I expect to find myself among a group of lawyers from a variety of faith communities who consider our religious beliefs, commitment to the laws of nation and province, and obligations under existing rules of professional conduct – which is a mandatory community covenant for all who desire to practice law – as sufficient to address the Law Society’s concerns. There really is nothing more to add for purposes of an individual Statement of Principles.

Observing,

However, submitting a statement that says my faith beliefs and existing obligations are more-than-enough may fall short of the Law Society’s expectation for members to “promote equality, diversity and inclusion generally.” Perhaps, only because we may have different understandings of what the words “promote,” “equality,” “diversity,” and “inclusion” mean.

In the time between writing those words and this week completing my 2017 annual report, additional disconcerting government impositions on constitutional freedoms have either been established or announced.

The federal government introduced an attestation clause to the application for Canada Summer Jobs grants. The attestation required is not about adhering to the law, not about following human rights requirements, or even requiring compliance with government funding policies. It mandates that applicants endorse the position of the federal Liberal Party’s leader (currently the Prime Minister) on matters of human rights. His position is not official party policy. Nor is it a proper understanding of our constitution or the law. It is, however, the requirement to be considered by his government for funding that is otherwise generally available to public employers for purposes of providing summer jobs to high school and university students.

Despite the best efforts of religious leaders from a diversity of faith communities, as well as lawyers and members of the media from across the political and religious/non-religious spectrum, to explain to the Prime Minister and Minister of Employment why certain religious individuals and communities could not comply with (let alone be legally be required to comply with) the demand to tick the box in agreement with a stipulated ideological position that is contrary to their religious beliefs, the government persisted. Essentially the government position is, there are different understandings of the words “core mandate,” “must respect” and “as well as other rights.” The common dictionary definitions of those words do not apply. Neither, apparently, do the decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada in regard to freedom of conscience and religion or freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression as guaranteed in the Charter.

The Charter states, and has been unquestionably understood by the courts, that its purpose is to protect citizens from having our rights violated by government action.

The Law Society is a government authorized regulatory body. The Charter constrains its actions. The federal government is likewise bound by the Charter. Similarly, as doctors in Ontario are engaged in a battle for their conscience rights, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario is a government authorized body that is bound by the Charter. The federal government has announced a new national youth initiative, the Canada Service Corps, to which its tick box requirements will apply for partner organizations and youth applicants.

For the first thirty-five years of the Charter’s existence, the responsibility of government and government authorized agencies and regulatory bodies for Charter compliance was understood. Now, the question is “Who will next be bullied into unconstitutional confession of agreement with a statement of political ideology?”

Don’t get me wrong. In Canada, we have robust freedoms. Guaranteed by the Charter. Protected by the courts. And, until recently, respected by government, including its authorized agencies and regulatory bodies.

To maintain these freedoms, we will have to stand for them. If necessary, we will have to fight for them in the courts, both judicial and of public opinion.

In 2008 I sat in a hotel room in Washington, D.C. with several Christian lawyers from China. We talked about the personal cost they and their families were paying to fight for religious freedom in Chinese courts. Many have “disappeared” since that meeting. This week, I read the news that one has made what in military terms is referred to as the ultimate sacrifice. Just as I was deeply moved by the faithfulness of twenty-one Coptic Christians beheaded on a Libyan beach in February 2015, I was touched to the core to learn of Li Baiguang’s death.

As a writer, I read. Really, you can’t write well unless you read good writing. Every now and then, I read something that causes me to move through the following progression. I wish I had written that. That is well written. Kudos to the author for writing that. It’s good to know I’m not alone in those thoughts. I’m glad someone else wrote something that is so inspiring. I need to write.

In the last few days I have read two such commentaries.

In Tearing Down the Idol of Religious Freedom, Kristopher Kinsinger reminds,

Christians should educate themselves about the challenges currently being mounted against religious freedom in Canada and around the world. Those of us who have a passion for public affairs should look for ways to engage our culture for the sake of the Gospel. In doing so, however, we must remain attuned to the pendulum of our motivations. If our primary desire is for cultural revolution – rather than seeing hearts and minds transformed by and for Christ – then our witness is a false one. Only when we are fully “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith” can we truly say our fight for religious freedom is for the glory of God alone.

In Just Check the Box: the growth of statism and what’s next for Canada’s Christians, André Schutten writes of the tick boxes,

It’s so simple – by design – to affirm the State ideology of “inclusion” and “reproductive rights.” Just check the box. And yet what’s actually happening is a wearing away or a numbing of our convictions. Like the greengrocer in Communist Czechoslovakia, we fear the trouble of dissenting. We need the funds. We want to keep our license.

Schutten briefly explores the early stages of state control in several nations that descended into authoritarian communism, concluding with a series of questions relevant for today.

So where do these check boxes take us? What’s next? I can’t help but think that the check boxes are a trial balloon of sorts. If the current government can get away with enforcing moral conformity as a condition for receiving summer job grants, can it do the same for charitable status? Will the other regulated professions (medicine, accounting, engineering, etc) include check boxes? Will all charities in the next few years have to check the box each year to affirm the “Charter values” of inclusion and non-discrimination and reproductive rights in order to keep their charitable status? And after that, will our Christian schools have to check the box to keep the doors open? Will we as parents have to check the box to access medical care for our kids? What’s next?

Bearing Kinsinger’s thoughts in mind, I completed my annual report for the Law Society, dutifully noting in the optional section on religion that my religious belief is “Other” and offering the one-word explanation “Christian.” I chose this rather than ticking the pre-itemized boxes of “Protestant,” “Roman Catholic,” or “Other Christian, such as Eastern Orthodox and Ukrainian Catholic.” When I consider the plight of many in the Church around the world, I am compelled to define myself as simply Christian, a member of the global Body of Christ – one Body with many parts.

Bearing Schutten’s thoughts in mind, I ticked the “No” box for the Statement of Principles declaration, providing the following explanation,

The Law Society benchers have demonstrated in debate and decision that they do not themselves understand or promote equality, diversity and inclusion generally as understood in decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada concerning application of constitutional and other human rights legislation. The oath I voluntarily swore at my call to the bar, and my adherence to both the Rules of Professional conduct and the law generally are sufficient. The Law Society has no authority, constitutional or otherwise, to demand more of me. I, therefore, refuse for reasons of conscience and principle to provide such a statement to the Law Society.

There will be Christians who tick the “Yes” box. There will be others who tick the “No” box. Depending on the form being completed, there may be explanation as to why they can’t tick “Yes.”

In time, Freedom of Information requests will reveal which Christian organizations received Canada Summer Jobs funding. Also, the Law Society will take whatever action (intimidating by the lack of stipulated potential penalty) against dissenting members. Whether or not one ticked “Yes” will be revealed.

I hope and pray that a small mark in a small box does not become a great line of division.

I also hope and pray that those asserting our freedoms will help to maintain them. Those freedoms belong to all Canadians.

If you’re ready to dig deeper into an understanding of our Charter rights and the biblical context for exercising them in Canada’s constitutionally guaranteed free and democratic society, you may want to get a copy of my book, Under Siege: Religious Freedom and the Church in Canada at 150 (1867–2017). Here’s what Brian Stiller, Global Ambassador for the World Evangelical Alliance, had to say:

Don Hutchinson in Under Siege walks us through the critical issues of freedom of religion in a country where one might naively assume its record is stellar. His message is that there is always the need for vigilance. In a time when the secular assumption that faith will soon ebb away carries with it a belief that there is no need to protect its freedom, this book advises the opposite. A timely and wise warning.

Under Siege is available in paperback from my website, amazon, Indigo and others, as well as in a variety of electronic formats.

Christmas Time is Here

My childhood memories of Christmas include well-decorated trees, wonderful gifts, turkey and trimmings with  immediate family at the dining room table (with good dishes and silverware), and large family gatherings on Boxing Day. And, my heart was captured by “A Charlie Brown Christmas” in 1965.

Don - "Love, Hope, Believe"

When I hear the music from Christmas Time is Here, with or without Vince Guaraldi’s lyrics, those fond memories from childhood arise.

Christmas time is here
Happiness and cheer
Fun for all that children call
Their favorite time of the year

My favourite people were other children. Early on, my cousins, whose company was scheduled for a full Boxing Day celebration, and gradually drifting closer to neighbours along Birkdale Road and friends from school. Maybe because my busy single Mum was working and had three children under her roof; my sisters being eight and ten years older had friends of their own and little time for baby brother. Or maybe it was just normal for a child to find his happiness in the company of other children.

My Mum worked for the Coca-Cola Company, creating another connection with the Charlie Brown Christmas special which Coca-Cola produced. There is much in life for which I am grateful to the Coca-Cola Company.

Snowflakes in the air
Carols everywhere
Olden times and ancient rhymes
Of love and dreams to share

Carols everywhere. I now know that Christmas carols are not the same as twentieth century songs of Santa Claus and snowflakes in the air, but are in fact those ancient rhymes of love. Away in a Manger. Angels We Have Heard on High. O Little Town of Bethlehem. Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus. Silent Night.

Sleigh bells in the air
Beauty everywhere
Yuletide by the fireside
And joyful memories there

The Western imagination has been captivated by thoughts conjured up by dreaming of a White Christmas, Chestnuts Roasting by an Open Fire, Jingle Bells ringing while riding in a one-horse open sleigh or Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer making sure Santa Claus is Coming to Town. Even in tiny apartments without chimneys, the mind drifts to yuletide by the fireside and joyful memories there.

Growing up, we sang both carols and songs in school choirs or impromptu gatherings throughout December. I knew more about the Santa tale than the Christmas story, but was struck each year when Linus answered Charlie Brown’s question, “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?”

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”

Although that was the sum knowledge of what I knew about the Christmas story, at twenty-one I realized it is in fact the heart of what Christmas is all about. The trees and gifts have meaning. Turkey and trimmings with family and friends have meaning. The memories created are special. The truth shared by Linus, found in Luke chapter 2, verses 8 to 14, is what Christmas is all about.

There is no Christmas without Christ. No matter how much effort is put into creating sentimental images of which we may catch glimpses in moments of real-life celebration, there is something missing from Christmas if there is no Christ.

It may be old-fashioned to watch the news on television, but I do. In the days leading up to December 25 there seems consistently to be an increase in reporting of good news stories. They tend to echo the theme of Vince Guaraldi’s final verse:

Christmas time is here
We’ll be drawing near
Oh, that we could always see
Such spirit through the year
Oh, that we could always see
Such spirit through the year

The spirit of Christmas is not in chasing shadows from Christmas past or imagined. It’s not attained in the efforts of men, women and children filling bags in shopping malls or dropping change into plastic bubbles on stands by the door as they exit. The spirit of Christmas is not even sealed by the aroma of turkey roasting and cinnamon-apple pie baking while the table is being set.

The spirit of Christmas is more than that. It’s more than memories, or moments of invention captured in song. The spirit of Christmas is the Spirit of Christ, present because the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger grew to be a man who gave His life on a blood-stained cross, then three days later rose from the dead.

Charlie Brown’s Christmas captured the tension found in an idealized vision of celebration sought after by Canadian – perhaps more broadly, North American or even Western – culture. But, the spirit of Christmas is not a flawless image that evokes the challenge to capture it. Charlie Brown, it’s not about the perfect Christmas tree.

The spirit of Christmas is found in the message that offers hope to the world; hope that God who created, God who knows the state of our flawed and broken humanity, has made a way for us to know His presence, His encouragement, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Oh, that we could always see such spirit through the year.

What’s in a favourite movie?

“What’s your favourite movie?”

The question was on a list for a social media quiz. None of the movies presented were on my radar. I hadn’t even heard of them. The google machine confirmed each one had, unbeknownst to me, actually made it into theatres. I guess I don’t get out much.

Don - "Love, Hope, Believe"

Do you have a favourite movie? I’m torn between two. Neither has seen recent release, but I have them both on VHS. Yeah, I definitely don’t get out much.

For the longest time, or so it seemed when I was under twenty-five, my top pick was the 1967 movie version of Lerner & Lowe’s Camelot. The songs were earworms, and easy to sing along or alone. Camelot is a tale of hope and of human frailty. No matter how many times I watch it, I find myself hoping that Queen Guenevere and Sir Lancelot will stay loyal to the vows each had made to King Arthur.

I still get a little something in my eye when Arthur, having sent Guenevere to a convent for her protection, reprises a melody he had shared earlier as enticement for then Lady Guenevere to become his queen. He reprises the theme in order to give a hopeful challenge to a young squire, Tom, before engaging the final battle with Lancelot:

Each evening, from December to December,
Before you drift to sleep upon your cot,
Think back on all the tales that you remember
Of Camelot.
Ask ev’ry person if he’s heard the story,
And tell it strong and clear if he has not,
That once there was a fleeting wisp of glory
Called Camelot.

Mournful, yet hopeful. Set to the life tune of human frailty.

I encountered my second top pick on the north coast of British Columbia one Christmas Eve on our 13” black and white tv. Growing a bit weary of Ebenezer Scrooge, I switched channels (back in the day it was necessary to stand at the television, rotate the dial, and adjust the antenna). The late discovery was Frank Capra’s 1946 classic, It’s A Wonderful Life.

Camelot remains a great escape from reality. But Jimmy Stewart filled the shoes of George Bailey in a way that captured my heart. Stewart conveyed with eyes, facial features, and necessary words only, the dreams of youth, and the adult reality of letting them go to fight the daily battle of Bedford Falls.

George watched friends and family fulfill their dreams while he steadily held together “the old Building and Loan,” an independent credit union, all the while not realizing he was actually holding together the whole town. George Bailey was more everyman than Arthur of the Round Table. The similar theme of hope and human frailty pervades, but the Capra-corn movie ends on a higher note than the musical. The closing scene in Bedford Falls reveals that even the by-the-book bank examiner’s heart has been warmed by George’s worth to those whose lives he touches. The crusty examiner contributes from his own pocket to the effort to spare George the long prison term that would accompany evidence of missing Building and Loan funds, the same missing funds that had driven hope out of George’s life on Christmas Eve in my living room.

Hope. To possess it requires more than our human frailty has on offer. For Arthur it was rediscovered in young Tom, a messenger to carry the story of “a fleeting wisp of glory” that was known as Camelot. For George it was realised through the presence of Clarence Odbody, wingless guardian angel, second class. Clarence arrived in Bedford Falls as answer to a suicidal George’s desperate prayer, “Dear Father in heaven, I’m not a praying man, but if you’re up there and you can hear me, show me the way… show me the way.”

There are echoes of some of my own prayers in George’s words.

Do you have a favourite movie? Is it pure escapism or does it speak to you? About you?

Both of these movies speak to me. And both speak about me.

Neither Arthur nor George arrived where the dreams of their youth would have landed them. Still, by the end of each movie, both found that where they were was where they needed to be, for their own sake and for the good of others.

Camelot offered the appeal that someone – Merlin, who lived time in reverse from future to past – had glimpses of how Arthur’s life would unfold. It’s A Wonderful Life presented assurance that Someone – Our Father in heaven – understood the plan for George’s life, the tragedies, trials and joys that stitched together a tapestry to display the importance of George’s life – each life – to individual, family and community.

As a friend of mine says, “It’s about the journey.” You needn’t necessarily set aside your dreams, but you can seek the joie de vivre – the very real joy of life – where you are right now. Seeking necessarily involves more than a glance. Your life is significant, whether you can see it or not. Earnestly seek and you will find.

Under Siege: how and why I authored this book

This is a shorter version of the blog Under Siege: What it’s About originally published March 22, 2017 at Word Alive Press.           UNDER SIEGE: Religious Freedom and the Church in Canada at 150 (1867-2017) is my first book.

Writing and publishing Under Siege was intimate and personal, and also not possible without intentional interaction with others in the Body of Christ.

under siege HR

In April 2016 I was invited to speak at a pastors and spouses conference taking place in October 2016. The request was for two keynote talks on religious freedom, a subject that has been woven into my adult life through education and experience. One talk would be about religious freedom in Canada and other about the global persecuted church.

Somewhat uncharacteristically, I started work on the project early. Long before the deadline was even on the horizon, I was praying, outlining, researching and capturing thoughts—I sleep with a notepad on the nightstand. Waking early one morning with the idea of turning the Canada talk into a book, I scribbled out three section heading ideas and many of the chapter titles before going back to sleep. Beginning that morning in May, work on the talk was combined with work on the book.

At the same time, I was finishing teaching a course on living a public faith; part of the apologetics training year at Ottawa School of the Bible—OSB is a practical understanding and application Bible school that is an initiative of the Lifecentre, and is accessed by students and pastors from across the city. I was teaching those in or interested in Christian leadership, and in October I would be speaking to pastors and their spouses. As a result, I found myself writing for Christian leaders, pastors and their spouses.

There are well written books on religious freedom in Canada for lawyers and academics. Distinct from those who engage the courts and in universities, missing was something designed to equip the troops who are engaged in the daily frontline spiritual warfare of 21st century Canada. Christian leaders minister in a human rights minefield, both real and imagined. They are the people who will primarily benefit from an accurate understanding of the Canadian situation. Under Siege is written for them, for us.

It wasn’t until late August or early September that I convinced myself I was actually writing a book for publication and willing to accept the responsibility to finish the task. I’ve written blogs, opinion pieces for newspapers, and had a regular column in Faith Today. But I hadn’t written a book until Under Siege. As a result, I started seeking advice from people who had written, edited, published and marketed books.

When I was about seventy percent of the way through the writing process (and thinking I was ninety percent done) I invited input into the process from members of my target audience, pastors and Christian leaders, and some constitutional law lawyers. The lawyers were qualified to review my comments in the specialized constitutional law area of religious freedom. The pastors and Christian leaders gave me feedback on how to better communicate various concepts I was writing about.

Finally, when the draft was complete, I invited a couple of dozen people to read and comment on the full unedited text, including most of those who had input at the earlier stage. They had a four week deadline, which coincided with the deadline for approving the final edit of the text. I am exceedingly grateful for all who accepted, including those who ran out of time.

As each one was also invited to consider writing an endorsement, I ended up with seventeen endorsements from a good cross-section of Christian expressions and experience. I was excited— I cried when I read them all together at the deadline.

For editing, it was a privilege to work with an experienced, young Christian author/editor who was interested in the topic of my book. He held me to task on improving my footnoting, strengthened grammar and made good suggestions for adjustments in the text. Cover design and layout were done with similar thoughtfulness and professionalism.

Throughout the process I asked for advice from both the Word Alive Press team and a small group of personal-friend advisors—people praying for me while I was writing—who shared their thoughts on what they read, and were also invited to comment on cover design and layout.

In the end, Under Siege is available in offset and print-on-demand paperback, and a variety of electronic formats.

I applied for and received a license to use the Canada 150 logo based on the theme of the book, which only allows printing with the logo until the end of 2017. Extra fees would be required to remove the logo from print-on-demand and electronic formats effective January 1, 2018, so the offset press paperbacks printed by Word Alive Press are a kind of special edition Canada 150 cover. Get ‘em while they’re here!

 

Blessed are those who mourn

Today is my Dad’s birthday. I spoke at the memorial service for a friend’s father on the weekend. I’ve modified those words slightly, but thought I would share them with you. Miss you, Dad.

Don and Dad1

In January 2014 I enjoyed the privilege of my first visit to Israel. One of many special experiences was time to reflect while visiting the Church of the Beatitudes, located at the top of the mount where Jesus of Nazareth spoke to thousands assembled down the sides of the big hill.

Matthew 5 records the event, with these opening words:

Seeing the crowds, he [Jesus] went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.

And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted…”

This talk was shared with what was perhaps the largest gathering of people ever to hear Jesus speak. It kind of makes you wonder, why would Jesus start perhaps the most significant public talk he ever gave with words of blessing for the poor in spirit and those who mourn?

The Teacher begins his monumentally important message, delivered from high above the shore of Galilee, with words of promise for those wrestling with the realities of life’s challenges, including some of life’s most difficult questions.

“Why has this happened?” “Why did events unfold the way they did?” “Why do I feel so powerless?” “What can I do about it now?”

It may seem little consolation to know that we live in an imperfect world, where difficulties and death are very real parts of life. Even for those who accept the story of a long ago garden where the first sin plunged our world into disarray, it may be of little comfort to consider the truth that our lives are daily impacted by the brokenness of living in a fallen world. That truth is most difficult to grasp when the brokenness is directly impacting us in ways that cause almost uncontrollable emotion within us.

The pain, questions, even feelings of helplessness are balanced by one thing. Realizing that God is Lord over all of it. He knows. He knows us. He knows what we are experiencing. In and through it all, He remains God. The God who is ready, willing and waiting for us.

Remarkably, He is a God – He is the God – who hurts. He hurts with us, and hurts for us, in our difficulties. He doesn’t back away from us in our struggles and imperfections. He draws nearer with words that remind us that our weakness is known to Him; and, He responds to us in our weakness.

Do you remember the shortest verse in the Bible? It’s just two words. “Jesus wept.” (John 11:35)

Jesus’ friend had died. Jesus wept.

Jesus knew He was about to perform an amazing miracle that would bring his friend Lazarus back to life. But, He wept.

Why?

Did Jesus miss His friend? Or, were those tears for Lazarus’ family and friends? Tears of empathy and understanding in their loss.

God knows when we are hurting. He knows each of us is hurting with varying degrees of hurt. God knows that it is the rare death where the survivors, those who remain to carry on, don’t have regrets about words unspoken or deeds undone – whether their own words or deeds or those they hoped for from the deceased. But, time ran out. The words remained unsaid. The deeds undone. Future plans not able to be fulfilled.

The question is, “Are we willing to admit that we’re hurting?” God isn’t just aware of the hurt, He feels the hurt right along with us. He knows we need reassurance in our time of loss, and He offers it. He guaranteed it in public before thousands of witnesses.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

We. Will. Be. Comforted. But, only if we let Him comfort us.

I’ve spoken at a lot of funerals. I didn’t know the man whose funeral I spoke at on the weekend and I don’t know most of you, your life’s story. I do know that when death intervenes, you will consider that your relationship with your loved one or friend could likely have been better than it was, and also had some shining moments you hope you will never forget. And, I know that there are and will be moments when you will need a sense of comfort as you reflect on the relationship. Those moments continue long after you think they should have come to an end.

God has promised His comfort. But, only if we let Him comfort us.

More than comfort alone, God Who is empathetic and understanding is also loving and wise. If we trust Him, He will make use of the troubles of life, and the mourning that comes with life’s ending, to meet with us and build into our lives something good that wasn’t there before. Although, often we won’t realize it until sometime later. If we’re not looking for Him, we might not even realize it was God who met us in our moment of need.

For now, let me encourage you to rest in the simple understanding that God is good, even when life seems bad. He cares for us, even when we don’t know He’s there. He has promised to comfort those who mourn. He keeps His word. He is committed to connect with those who admit their need of His love and care, and to build a relationship with us when we do.