Complicated – Devotional

I know someone who responds to every tummy ache, horrendous headline, flat tire, financial disaster, and family tragedy with the same preternatural equanimity. This too shall pass. All will be well. Everything happens for a reason. It’s as if they have no emotional nerve endings. Even God gets angry, for Pete’s sake. Even Jesus wept.

“The slaves said to [the householder], ‘Do you want us to go and gather the weeds?’ But he replied, ‘No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. Let them grow together until the harvest.’” – Matthew 13:28-30 (NRSV, abridged)

I’m tempted to suggest therapy, but then I consider my own habitual reactions to life’s slings and arrows. Sputtering apoplexy, stomping about, blue streaks, middle fingers, catastrophizing, emotional nerve endings smoking hot. The world is poop. People suck. Always have, always will. My acquaintance is an off-the-charts Pollyanna. I’m a veritable doom machine. She’s in major denial. So am I. We both could use therapy.

Or conversion. Because human experience is, to put it mildly, complicated. It tells us contradictory truths. People are glorious and good. People are rotten and nasty. Everything will be okay. Nothing ever will. Calm confidence is a rational response to tragedy and pain. Rage is, too. For every downside, there’s an up. For every up, a down.

Life is a mysterious admixture of sorrow and joy, upset and serenity, evil and holiness, love and hate, Pollyannas and doom machines, wheat and weeds. The mature person holds it all as one, without rushing to reduce it, simplify it, or judge it. The faithful person makes meaning of it without forcing it to make sense. The holy person lives into the whole mystery as she finds it and leaves the sorting to God.


I wish life were simpler, O God, but it’s not. Grant me grace to handle complexity and wisdom to leave the sorting to you.

About the Author

Mary Luti is a long time seminary educator and pastor, author of Teresa of Avila’s Way and numerous articles, and founding member of The Daughters of Abraham, a national network of interfaith women’s book groups.