In the final pages of Chapter 9 of Walking with God through Pain and Suffering, Timothy Keller stresses the importance of preparing the mind for suffering. The author notes that philosopher Simon Weil once wrote that a soul in the midst of affliction finds it difficult to love anything, falling “into something almost equivalent to hell.”
Being firmly rooted in Jesus and God’s Word can anchor us so that we’re not sucked into the whirlpool of despair. Intellectual answers aren’t enough. God’s truth must penetrate our hearts. Theologian Don Carson explains the necessity of connecting these truths to the affections and functions of the heart:
“There are millions of ordinary Christians who . . . do not feel there is a problem [of suffering]. They have theological answers that satisfy them: suffering is the result of sin; free will means that God has to leave people to make their own mistakes; heaven and hell will set the record straight. . . . And then something takes place in their own life that jolts them to the cores. . . . That is not to say, however, that the set of beliefs is irrelevant. It is to say that . . . the Christian, to find comfort in them, must learn how to use them.”
When Mark was diagnosed with ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease, he cried out to God that he was being pulled from the game while he still had so much to offer. God’s response to Mark?: “You have been on the sidelines for some time; you are just now going into the game.”
Today’s question: What specific ways has the Holy Spirit used to help you find comfort in God’s truths? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “The suffering we bring on ourselves”