What can possibly help us cope with the sad, sorry state of affairs that we encounter in this life?
This past week has brought this question to the forefront of a lot of our collective hearts and minds. At Christ Church Mansfield this past Sunday, we found hope in God our strength and our refuge, the God of Jacob, from Psalm 46, and saw that it is the presence of God with us in the pain, rather than the mere absence of pain, that helps us get through life.
But we never get through unscathed nor unscarred.
So where does my hope for a better future that sustains me in the brutal present come from? How, once again, can we make it through?
One author helped me appreciate that all this pain and suffering and sorrow will not disappear, but simply “wither away.”
“What we have suffered weighs us down like a heavy load we long to have lifted; like an indefatigable enemy, it assails us relentlessly. The wreckage of history – a trail of shattered beauty, defiled goodness, twisted truths, streams of tears, rivers of blood, mountains of corpses – must somehow be mended. That the past must and will be redeemed is a conviction essential to the Christian notion of redemption.”
“Will we let go of them [memories] so as to be able to rejoice with complete and permanent joy in God and in one another? No, that is not quite the right way to think about the not-coming-to-mind of memories of wrongs suffered. We will not ‘forget’ so as to be able to rejoice; we will rejoice and therefore let those memories slip out of our minds! The reason for our non-remembrance of wrongs will be the same as its cause: Our minds will be rapt in the goodness of God and in the goodness of God’s new world, and the memories of wrongs will whither away like plants without water.”
– Miroslav Volf, The End of Memory: Remembering Rightly in a Violent World (pgs. 42, and 214)