“Then shall those powers, which work for grief,
Enter thy pay,
And day by day
Labour thy praise, and my relief;
With care and courage building me,
Till I reach heav’n, and much more, thee.”- George Herbert, “Affliction III”
As Timothy Keller begins the concluding chapter (Chapter 16-“Hoping”) of Walking with God through Pain and Suffering, he states that hope is the most practical thing for sufferers to have. Suffering becomes unbearable when hope is eroded or lost. Thus the words of Revelation 21:4- that God “will wipe away every tear” from our eyes- promise us a life-transforming, living hope.
Human beings, Pastor Keller notes, are hope-shaped creatures. What we believe about our future completely controls how we live in the present. The author states that the Christian movement grew because early Christians took their horrendous suffering with great poise and peace, singing hymns as they met their deaths.
Hope in our own achievements easily can be dashed. Then hopelessness engulfs us. But our hope in the New Jerusalem is a certainty- for it is based on God’s action, not ours.
Today’s question: How has the certainty of heaven helped you rise above the circumstances of your ministry downsizing or vocation loss? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: the Annotated Bibliography of Walking with God through Pain and Suffering