Suffering: The Servant of our Joy

I recently read something very encouraging from pastor/author Tim Keller, he writes this:
“Years ago I had a terrible nightmare. In my nightmare, every member of my family was killed in terrible fashion. I woke up at 3am panting from the nightmare. It was if I had lost my family and awakened to discover I had them back. I wanted to wake them all up and hug them. I loved them before the nightmare, but not like I did after the nightmare. That nightmare taught me something valuable, and it was this: the joy of finding them wasn’t a joy in spite of the nightmare, but a joy enhanced by the nightmare. Because of the nightmare, my joy was intensified. The nightmare was taken up into the joy of having them back. The nightmare actually punctuated my joy!”

Keller went on to say, “If heaven is a compensation for all the stuff we wanted that never had, that is one thing. But if the New Heaven and New Earth is our hope-and it is-it will make everything horrible we’ve experienced nothing but a nightmare. And as a nightmare, it will infinitely, correspondingly increase our future joy and glory in a way it wouldn’t have been increased if we’d never suffered.”

Keller concluded by saying, “To say that our suffering is an illusion or to say we will be compensated for our suffering is one thing. But to say that the suffering we experience now will one day be a servant of our joy does not just compensate for it, it undoes it! As the Apostle Paul said, ‘Our light and momentary afflictions ARE ACHIEVING/PRODUCING for us an eternal glory that FAR OUTWEIGHS them all.’ There has never been an understanding of suffering that was more hopeful or encouraging.”

Isn’t that encouraging my friends? The evil, pain, and suffering (nightmares) that hurts us now will be the eventual servant of our joy and glory eternally! Pain never gets the final word on believers…God gets the final word! As the Scripture says, “Death is swallowed up in victory!” Beloved, enjoy the hope that our suffering is going to be engulfed, swallowed up. The evil that hurts us now will be the eventual servant of our joy and glory eternally! PRAISE BE UNTO GOD!!!

For many, like me and my family, we are still living our nightmare though…and it can seem that it will never end. We grieve and hurt, but we have to keep it all in proper perspective. All of our hurts are wrapped in the hope that “weeping may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5).” Yes, the pain of loss is so real every day and it hurts beyond description, but in order to endure the pain, we must realize that one day, the nightmare that consumes us now, will be the servant of our joy, which will consume us then. Because I of the pain we experienced on earth, the joy of heaven will even be that much sweeter.

To all my fellow grievers out there…hold on…the nightmare will end…and it will be the servant of our joy! Even so, come Lord Jesus! 

One thought on “Suffering: The Servant of our Joy

  1. Jeff Hume says:

    Thank you for your words and love of God. You are an inspiration. I was at Rewired this past weekend and wanted to thank you for opening my eyes to somethings I had been hiding from myself. I am the one who stood because my brother had lost his son. I went to your Truth Track trying to find things to help him and his wife in their grief but realized that in trying to help them get through their grief I had not worked through my own. Its was too easy for me to hide it away and not face it because I wanted to be strong for my brothers family. Thank you for showing me this.

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