"This surrounding, sustaining goodness comes to us through many channels, for it is divine grace itself. A caring friend takes under his wing a professional colleague who is battling emotional demons, listening to him over a weekly lunch. Fellow church members make sure an elderly widow is not left alone, setting up a group to read books to her. Someone practicing 'random acts of kindness' gives a tollhouse cookie to a parkway toll agent who, unbeknownst to the giver, is having the worst day of his life — a simple act of human caring that turns him away from the brink of despair

"Or such goodness may come through the inner illuminations that arise through spiritual practice — darts of love that penetrate the confusion and complexity of our inner world with an image, or word, or insight that reorients us to life's goodness and expands the roominess of our world, a world that is always and everywhere overarched and overshadowed by the 'midnight sky' of God's life and love.

"Being grounded, goodness is the basis for the courage we need to face adversity, for courage can arise only when we care about something to defend and protect it — in this case, the love of life itself and our willingness to invest ourselves in it. Only so can we survive suffering, and if possible, seek ways to cure or challenge its causes.

"A suffering world is not saved by agonizing over it. That only adds to the suffering. The world is saved by love of the good and the bravery to preserve and increase it, by a courageous compassion that faces adversity and moves forward, looking for whatever goodness is possible in any situation. Jesus faces the evil actions of his opponents — and his own inner opposition — like a martial arts master in combat, like a doctor wrestling with cancer, or a therapist up against a patient's suicidal impulse: alert, caring, nimble, and savvy to outfox and outwit the dark enemies of life's goodness with sanity, compassion, and confidence in the power of the good to endure and triumph. His wounds are not the sign that suffering is good, but that some things in life are good enough to suffer for. They are the wounds of a brave warrior bloodied in the fight to free those who have gotten lost in the prison house of suffering.

"Christ's way of suffering redemptively models the courage that can grow us strong, caring, and supple as we face any adversity. For Christ, for us, and for everyone who has found such courage in the midst of adversity, the source of victory is the same: God's own courage in the midst of a world of dazzling beauty, soul-sustaining goodness, and sometimes terrifying adversity"