Ann Voskamp begins Chapter 5 of One Thousand Gifts by revisiting an issue she initially presented in Chapter 1: “How to lay the hand open for this moment’s bread- when it will hurt.” In other words, is God’s grace sufficient in all life’s circumstances, good as well as bad?
As the author phrases it, “awakening to joy awakens to pain”. Every forward step we take in life results in the loss of something. Yet our ability to give thanks in adversity is significant, as Ann notes in citing St. John of Avila, preceding the chapter: “One act of thanksgiving, when things go wrong with us, is worth a thousand thanks when things are agreeable to our inclinations.”
How, then do we determine what moments in our lives count as blessings? Does God speak to us in our darkest moments? As Ann states, “every dark woods has words”. To read God’s writing in the world, we need the lens of His Word. Only God’s Word enables us to rightly read the world, Ann affirms, because:
” . . . The Word has nail-scarred hands that cup our face close, wipe away the tears running down, has eyes to look deep into our brimming ache, and whisper, ‘I know. I know.’ ”