Many of you know that Tom and I are on our way to Australia. In fact this post should go live around the time we land and head to my brother’s home for our first few nights. This is my first trip since my mother died and though I am looking forward to it with joy and excitement there is also much sorrow. I know that it is a trip on which laughter and tears will intermingle.
Over the last week, more by coincidence then design, I have been reading Tim Keller’s book Walking With God Through Pain and Suffering. I really admire him for addressing this issue and have been mulling over his words as I travel. He points out that the modern viewpoint of individual freedom and pursuit of happiness has no place for sorrow or suffering. Yet suffering and sorrow is an integral part of the Christian story and in fact becomes part of the perfecting process. In talking about the growth of the early church he comments:
The Christian approach to pain and evil with both greater room for sorrow and a greater basis for hope was part of its appeal (42)
I am very much aware of this as I head down to Australia. It is my belief in the resurrection of Christ and in a personal God who desires to restore all things to wholeness, that gives me hope on this trip. The promises of God do not take away my grief but they do temper it with hope.
At times I felt Keller’s approach, suggesting that sorrow and pain can be dealt with just by reading the Bible more and praying, sounded rather superficial, but generally speaking this is a book worth the read.