‘I have learnt much more about the grace of God in times of darkness than in times of prosperity’ – Tim Keller
I feel this blog will slowly move into a reflections/review/thoughts page of a lot to the Christian material that I tend to consume in certain periods. Currently times are 马马虎虎 (google it). But as Tim and many others have made a point of and reminded me of is that we learn far more about God’s grace in periods of struggle and pain than in abundance and riches.
I am a firm believer that Christians can go through long long seasons of darkness, sadness and confusion. It could even be argued that it is inevitable. Being an exile in a foreign home can be disorientating. Death and injustice is the marker of this world. Even within the church, tensions lead to lack of unity and reconciliation can often look untenable (and sometimes it isn’t until Christ returns’
Jesus was truly abandoned so those who put their trust in him will only ever feel abandoned.
On the cross Jesus became a curse for us. (Galatians 3:13). For our sin he became sin, by absorbing the wrath of the father, that should have been poured on us (2 Cor 5:21). He forsook all he had ever known in order to become the propitiation for the sins we committed (Romans 3:23,25). His real isolation from the father and spirit, brought us into right standing with God and into union with him (Romans 8:1, 1 Peter 3:18). While many believers and Christians feel isolation (Psalm 22), it is, and will always be a false illusion and misrepresentation of the truth of a God who will ‘never leave us nor forsake us’ (Hebrews 13:5, John 14:6)
Not all dark times are meant to ‘go away’ many are designed to sanctify you.
Accepting that dark times are meant to form you, not break you, while being hard to accept, is a real and true reality of life. Lost relatives, failed job applications and long term decisions ‘gone wrong’ are all things outside of our control. Things we are unable to change. Things that remind of us God’s sovereignty, even in times of strife. Dark times allow us to lament. Dark times allow us to learn about God’s grace clearer than in sunny times. Dark times teach us the importance of finding our joy in Christ and Christ alone.
Turn to God in your complaints
Tim Keller has an amazing sermon on this topic. In his look at Psalm 88, one of 2 Psalms where the Psalmist only speaks of his sadness, Keller wisely points out how the Psalmists complaint is to God, and this is where our complaints must find a home. In God and God alone. This proves our belief that he is the one that cares. He is the one who listens to our prayers. He is the one that has the power to, if in his will, to turn our situation around.
Grace, Peace and Love