All we have to …

All we have to do is live long enough, and we will be bereaved.
All we have to do is live long enough, and we will die.
In a fallen world, these points are immutable, yet grief and pain always catch us unawares. We know we are not immune, but there is a suppressed hope that pretends we are. And when our child dies, or our spouse; when we see a loved one wasting away from a painful disease, or observe a brilliant and courteous mind disintegrating before our eyes; when we ourselves suddenly face the most appalling pain or incapacity, with no prospect of relief, then our pretentions rush forward in another form: Why is God doing this? Though it is blasphemous to think it, our whole being cries out that this is unfair of him, that our grief and pain are disproportionate to our sin, that we have abandoned.

Doubtless it is true, for instance, that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him” (Rom. 8:28), but it is less than obvious that this should be quoted to the couple that has just lost their child in a road accident. If they know the Lord well, then perhaps, with time, they themselves will cite the verse with renewed faith and understanding; but it should not be thrust at them in the wrong way, or at the wrong time, or without tears, lest it seem like a bit of cheap ritual, miserable comfort, heartless proof texting.

Chapter 7, ‘How Long, O Lord’ – D.A. Carson


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