GRIEVING WITH HOPE
On the one hand, you can try to avoid grief. You can try to avoid weeping. That will either make you hard and inhuman, or else it will erupt later on and bite you and devastate you. The other mistake is to grieve without hope. The love and hope of God and one another has to be rubbed into our grief the way you rub salt into meat or it will go bad. Your grief is either going to make you bleaker and weaker, or it could make you far wiser and good and tender, depending on what you rub into it. That’s what we’re here to do. We are here not just to weep but to rub hope and love into our weeping.
—Timothy Keller, sermon after 9/11, Truth, Tears, Anger & Grace, on John 11:20-53
LET US REMEMBER HIS PROMISES
Matthew 5:4: Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Psalm 34:18: The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
1 Thessalonians 4:13: Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.
Underneath [our anger], there’s a low level of anger toward God himself. We all build our lives on things… “I’ll be happy if I have a family. I’ll be happy if I have a job. I’ll be happy if I have a life like this or like that.” Life never gives us the things we are building our happiness on.
—Timothy Keller, The Healing of Anger, sermon on Proverbs 14:29-30
LET US REMEMBER HIS WORDS
Matthew 21:12-13: Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’”
Revelation 21:4: He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.
1 Corinthians 15:26: The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
If you say either God is a villain or God is not in control, the premise is, “I am the rightful master of the universe. I know exactly how things have to go.” But if there is a God, then he has to know more than you.
If you say, “He is doing everything wrong,” then you don’t have a God who is smarter than you. What good is that kind of God? If God doesn’t know better than you, then really what you’re saying is there is no God. If there is no God, then why are you so bent out of shape about injustice? Who is to say what’s unjust? You can’t have it both ways.
Either there’s no God and there’s no reason for you to even be in despair or be upset about injustice, or there is a God, and he has to know more than you… God is on the throne.
—Timothy Keller, “Disciplines of Distress,” sermon on Psalm 11
LET US REMEMBER HIS ENCOURAGEMENT
Joshua 1:9: Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
Isaiah 26:3: You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.
Isaiah 41:10: So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Philippians 4:6-7: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Psalm 11:4: The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord is on his heavenly throne.
When you are plunged into the fiery furnace, God says, “I will so care about you and I will so love you and you will be so able to sense my love and presence with you, it will be as if I’m walking with you. And if you sense me walking with you, you won’t be consumed.” By that, it means the trouble and the trial won’t turn you hard. It won’t turn you bitter. It won’t break you, but instead, it will refine you. It’ll give you splendor. It’ll give you a character and a soul and a faith.
You say, “But how do I know it’s true?” When in the Old Testament God says, “I will be with you in the furnace of affliction,” not until you get to the cross of Jesus Christ will you know how far God was willing to go to make good that promise.
—Timothy Keller, “Suffering: If God is good, why is there so much evil in the world?”
A LIVING HOPE
[John] wrote [the book of Revelation] for a group of people or a group of churches that was facing some terrible things. He wrote this in order to give them a living hope. If you understand it like that, if you understand that when Jesus Christ was raised from the dead he was a first installment on something to come, it enables you to face things that otherwise you wouldn’t be able to face.
Because you have a living hope. Not just an abstract idea, but a living hope.
—Timothy Keller, sermon on Revelation 21, The New Heaven and New Earth