Smelling Salts

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“Instead of proudly trusting in his own or others’ expertise, [Namaan] was called to the soul work of humility. As a result, he not only got a cure for his body but a new relationship with God and a soul infused with grace and joy. Suffering led to his salvation. This does not even begin to answer the question, “Why does God allow so much evil and suffering in the world to persist?” Nor does such an example justify suffering. And yet one of the main teachings of the Bible is that almost no one grows into greatness or finds God without suffering, without pain coming into our lives like smelling salts to wake us up to all sorts of facts about life and our own hearts to which we were blind. For reasons past our finding out, even Christ did not bring salvation and grace to us apart from infinite suffering on the cross. As he loved us enough to face the suffering with patience and courage, so we must learn to trust in him enough to do the same. And as his weakness and suffering, thus faced, led to resurrection power, so can ours.”
 
– Tim Keller, Walking With God Through Pain & Suffering
 
So much of who God is remains mysterious to me, as is faith in general, but the longer I’ve followed and loved him, the more desperately grateful I am to know that he shares in our suffering, that our pain is not wasted. He does not inflict grief or affliction willing, nor does He not lead us through something Christ himself has not gone through. He does not ask us to keep a stiff upper lip, rather he weeps with us because God feels the weight of death and pain even more than we do. May we have patience and courage to take the next step in our valleys in the hope and promise that he gives us himself in the midst of it. God is using this book to change me in big ways -it’s so dang beautiful and difficult to digest! I had high hopes of extrapolating what God specifically is teaching me through this book but any attempt would be to quote most of it front to cover. I’ve tried. If you lack a grieving community and are longing to connect with someone about the problem of pain, Dr. Keller’s got you covered. This is a special book and will be well worn for years to come. 

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