The woman had been struggling with God for a long time in the face of the suffering of many she loved and her own suffering as well. She’d just returned from a retreat at a monastery in New England, and she told of how while there she had engaged in some honest but difficult prayer.
I asked her, “And did you sense that God was with you as you prayed?” She paused briefly, then spoke a simple but heartfelt “Yes.” I asked her, “What was God like in that moment, as you prayed?” After a much longer pause in which I could see her reconnecting with that experience and tasting more fully its significance for her, she said slowly, “Kind. God was very kind.”
In the years that have passed since that conversation, as she faced other hard times in her life, I’ve witnessed how she has trusted in that kind God of her retreat-time prayer. Like all authentic God-moments, it has continued to sustain her and bring her peace and joy.