Timothy Keller discusses Elisabeth Eliot’s novel No Graven Image in Chapter 8 of Walking with God through Pain and Suffering. Elisabeth’s novel is based on an actual event that occurred in her first years as a Bible translator in South America, when a man who spoke Spanish as well as the local language with equal ease was senselessly murdered. This event forced Elisabeth to consider whether she wanted a God who supported her plans or a glorious God.
Pastor Keller explains that this dilemma leads us to several salient contrasts concerning suffering and God:
1. If God merely serves as our accomplice, He betrays us in our suffering. On the other hand, if He is a glorious God, He has freed us from that suffering.
2. Serving the god-of-our-plans results in extreme anxiety, since we’re always trying to figure out how to include God in those plans. When we treat Him as God, that brings us rest and security.
3. Trusting God when we don’t understand Him is to treat Him as God, rather than putting Him on par with human beings.
It was on the cross where God’s glory was most brilliantly revealed, as Pastor Keller notes:
“This is the consummate wisdom- that God’s love and justice, seemingly at odds, could both be fulfilled at once. And so to trust God’s wisdom in our suffering, even when we don’t understand it, is to remember the glory and meaning of the cross.”
When we do what fits God and our souls, Pastor Keller emphasizes, we’ll find a rest that’s not based on circumstances.
Today’s question: Which view of God has most typified your thinking following your vocation loss? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “I will never be the same again”
Special note: a new Short Meditation, “Groundhog Day- all over again!” will post on Monday.