“We . . . know that God can save through weaknesses, suffering, and apparent defeat. . . . God’s salvation came into the world through suffering, so his saving grace and power can work in our lives more and more as we go through difficulty and sorrow. There’s mercy deep inside our storms.”- Timothy Keller
“In all their distress he too was distressed, and the angel of his presence saved them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.”- Isaiah 63:9 (NIV)
Timothy Keller concludes Chapter 2 of The Prodigal Prophet as he compares sin to taking an addicting drug. Because, at first sin may feel wonderful. However, every time it gets harder not to do it again. Above all, Pastor Keller cautions, sin always:
- hardens the conscience.
- locks you in the prison of your own defensiveness and rationalizations.
- eats you up slowly from the inside.
Again, Pastor Keller reminds us, a might storm attaches to all sin. Most significantly, this serves as a powerful image in our technologically advanced society. Because even with all our advances, we cannot control the weather. Nor, the author observes, can we bribe a storm or battle it with logic and rhetoric.
In addition, most storms come upon us as a consequence of living in a fallen, troubled world. Yet, as we see in the book of Jonah, the storm leads the sailors to genuine faith in the true God. The great storm that arose due to Jonah’s actions drove the sailors toward God.
In conclusion, Pastor Keller exhorts:
“The Bible does not say that every difficulty is the result of our sin — but it does teach that, for Christians, every difficulty can help reduce the power of sin in our hearts. Storms can wake us up to truths we would otherwise never see. Storms can develop faith, hope, love, patience, humility, and self-control in us that nothing else can.”
Today’s question: What Bible verses help us experience the mercy deep inside our storms? Please share.
Coming Monday: the August Short Meditation, “A more profound Alleluia!”
Tomorrow’s blog: “Deeply different from believers”