Grain of the universe – go against

By Dave Henning / February 8, 2022

“Good things, if received without faith in God, will enslave, disappoint, or turn out to be a snare in some way.  As David Foster Wallace has said, if you worship something besides a real God, ‘it will eat you alive!’ . . . if we love anything more than God, we go against our own design and against, as it were, the grain of the universe.”- Timothy Keller

But Abraham replied, “Son remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted and you are in agony.”- Luke 16:25 (NIV)

As Timothy Keller moves on in Chapter 11 of Hope in Times of Fear, he contrasts the good and hard things of life.  Indeed, we consider wealth, satisfaction, and success good things.  And we find their opposites hard to bear.  But people of this world look to such things as their deepest ‘consolation.’  That’s the same Greek word, paraklesis, also used to refer to the comfort and fulfillment of the Holy Spirit.

Most significantly, in Jesus’s parable of Lazarus and the rich man (Luke 16:19-31), we find this fact.  Lazarus is the only figure in any of Jesus’s parables given a name.  Because Jesus did so to point to an invisible reality only visible in the afterlife.  However, the rich man has no name because he’d built an identity around his power.  So, no wealth, no self.  Perhaps, Pastor Keller suggests, the hard things in life drove Lazarus to God.  Where he found himself.

Of course, Christians view hard things as indeed hard – and not something to actively seek out.  Yet, God arms Christians with this great truth.  That hard things, when received with faith in God, lead to the best things.

Finally, C. S. Lewis writes in Mere Christianity:

“Keep back nothing. . . .  look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay.  But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.”

Today’s question: When do you find yourself going against the grain of the universe?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Our attitude toward suffering”

About the author

Dave Henning

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