God challenges us to put aside pretending, to face life squarely
and realistically, to recognize that it truly can be ruthlessly
hard. That's not going to change anytime soon. But what can change
is our awareness that we're not alone. God is with us in the very
midst of all the chaos and confusion. God accepts and suffers the
pain right along with us. God doesn't promise to wave some magic
wand that will miraculously solve the problems or remove the
obstacles. What God does promise is to stand with us, to be there
right alongside us at every moment. We have a powerful ally and
friend who will not abandon us, and that's why we can look at the
present and the future with genuine hope. William James had it
right: "No matter how life appears to be going in terms of everyday
events, no matter how negative or painful the immediate moment,
still it is possible to maintain an underlying confidence, a sense
of greater presence that sustains life and hope."
sermon "Horse Manure and Hope"
by the Rev. Dr. Robert R. Hansel
the essay in its entirety.