Answers for the heart

By Dave Henning / January 11, 2014

“At first a thing pleases or shocks me without my knowing the reason, and yet it shocks me for that reason which I only discover afterwards. . . . The heart has its reasons, which reason does not know.” -Blaise Pascal

At the beginning of Chapter 5 (“The Challenge to Faith”) of Walking with God through Pain and Suffering, Timothy Keller explains that Pascal’s insightful phrase “reasons of the heart” refers to intuitions- explanations that provide some light on our thought processes while simultaneously also are comforting and satisfying.  Attitudes and actions are affected and changed.  Pastor Keller then proposes that there are three powerful themes of Christian teaching that give us a “new frame of heart capable of facing adversity.”  The first teaching is discussed today.

1.  The doctrines of creation and the fall.  When Adam and Eve sinned, God’s original design for the world was broken.  While the good pattern of life created by God isn’t completely eradicated, life does fall short of God’s original intent.  Thus, as Pastor Keller states, “the doctrine of the fall, then, gives us a remarkably nuanced understanding of suffering.”

Accepting that suffering and death in general is natural and just, the judgment of God on our sin comprises a “reason of the heart” for those who experience pain and suffering because it brings relief through humility.  Self-pity is removed, our souls are strengthened.   In the light of our sinfulness, the better question is why God allows so much happiness.

Today’s question: How has the relief of humility enhanced your desert, transitional journey?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “The renewal of the world”

About the author

Dave Henning

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