Remember the long way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, in order to humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commandments. He humbled you by letting you hunger, then by feeding you with manna, with which neither you nor your ancestors were acquainted, in order to make you understand that one does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. The clothes on your back did not wear out and your feet did not swell these forty years. Know then in your heart that as a parent disciplines a child so the LORD your God disciplines you. Therefore keep the commandments of the LORD your God, by walking in his ways and by fearing him. -- from the Book of Deuteronomy
But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God. -- from Paul's first letter to the Corinthians
I remember opening up M. Scott Peck's book The Road Less Traveled, when it first came out. The very first sentence of the book: "Life is difficult."
To which one might say, "Well...duh."
Life is difficult. And what both Old Testament and Epistle lessons in the Morning Prayer seem to be saying to me this morning is that the difficult places -- times when we have no control of our circumstances, when we're in want, when we lack power or insight -- are where God shows up.