I am spending the afternoon preparing to preach on suffering and the last 10 years seems to have had plenty of trauma- both national and personal. It has also included abounding grace and I suppose that this is the struggle for all our hearts. Enjoying the good and then facing the bad. The highs of love, life, hope and joy and the agony of loss, pain, disappointment and failure. These seem all mixed together in our own lives and in the lives of those we love.
I have spent some time reading my journals which go back most of the last 10 years. The belief of those who profess to follow Jesus is that God works for the good. This is true even when it seems like he isn't. I found this quote from Tim Keller which I clearly made a note of but had forgotten. He says is was a divinely inspired moment of translation of Romans 8 v 28 in a class when he was at seminary. Having re-read it I tend to agree.
The verse in the NIV goes like this:
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose"
This is how Keller translated it:
"God will give you everything you would have asked for if you knew everything he knows"
I hope sharing this will give you strength-particularly if this is a season of struggle and suffering.
I am ending my sermon with a long silence.