In Chapter 2 of Walking with God through Pain and Suffering, Timothy Keller points out that the Christian approach to suffering was a major factor for its success in the Roman Empire as well as its impact on human thinking. The Christian approach to pain and evil provides both greater room for sorrow and greater basis for hope.
Contemporary French philosopher Luc Ferry describes the impact of Jesus: “The divine . . . was no longer an impersonal structure, but an extraordinary individual.” Early Christians specifically pointed to pain and adversity in life as a major reason for embracing the faith. This is in stark contrast to today’s climate, in which the Christian faith is vulnerable to criticism and doubt due to the existence of pain and suffering.
Christian consolation provides a far greater range for expressing sorrow and grief. Pastor Keller notes that Christians face adversity by increasing their love and joy in God. Our answer to idolatrous attachment to earthly goods is not to love things less but to love God above all things. Pastor Keller concludes:
“In short, while God’s ways are often just as opaque to us as a parent’s are to an infant, still we trust that our heavenly Father is caring for us and present with us to guide and protect in all circumstances of life.”
Today’s question: Following the devastation of your vocation loss, did your faith draw you closer to God or did your pain push you away? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Martin Luther on suffering”