Last week, we explored Julian of Norwich’s famous phrase, “All will be well.” We found that it refers to the “necessity” of sin and God’s grand plan of salvation. It points us to the end of time, when God’s purposes for the world will be accomplished. But I want to emphasize that Julian’s saying is also full of comfort for the here and now.
In the Showings, Julian continues to marvel and reflect on the idea that “all will be well.” She says:
He [God] wants us to know that he takes heed not only of things which are noble and great, but also of those which are little and small, of humble men and simple, of this man and that man. And this is what he means when he says: Every kind of thing will be well. For he wants us to know that the smallest thing will not be forgotten. (231-232)
How I love this thought. The smallest thing will not be forgotten. We have a God who sees the small and the simple. And that means that he sees us; sees you and me. God delights not (just) in grand gestures and great deeds; he notices the humblest acts of faith. He loves not just the heroes and saints; he loves this particular man and that particular woman. He loves us in all our marvelous idiosyncracies. In our unique presence. Our ordinariness. And in our insignificance.
This passage on smallness reminds me of one of Julian’s earlier visions. God showed Julian something no bigger than a hazelnut lying in the palm of her hand.
Julian says, “I looked at it and thought: What can this be? And I was given this general answer: It is everything which is made.” (130) God preserves such a small thing, Julian writes, because he created it and loves it.
In something as small as a hazelnut, the whole world can be contained. In something as small as you and me, God finds something of incredible value. Something worth rectifying the world for.
We have to wait until the end – until God’s time – to see exactly how he will rectify every thing, both large and small. But we have this consolation now: we are not lost. We are not forgotten. God takes heed of us. We are swept up in his plans to make all things well.
Julian says that in God’s promise to make well even the smallest of things, we find rest and peace. We are powerfully comforted.
Do you believe, as small and insignificant as you are, that “all will be well” both for the world and for you? I leave you with Lady Julian’s encouragement:
“Accept it now in faith and trust, and in the very end you will see truly, in fulness of joy.”