I think we rarely know everything about everyone in our lives. That’s why we need to be gentle with each other. For most of us, life is a mixed bag.

For some, a lot of profoundly sad, frustrating, hurtful, even terrible things are going on right now. For others, life’s toughest challenges are a broken dishwasher or a stain on the carpet. Since I can’t relate to the latter as my toughest challenges, I’ll focus on the former.

Francis Schaeffer asked, “How shall we then live?” It’s a great question.

(For the record, here are some other Schaeffer-isms. “The Christian is the one whose imagination should fly beyond the stars.” And…“Biblical orthodoxy without compassion is surely the ugliest thing in the world.” And…“The Christian’s life is to be a thing of truth and also a thing of beauty in the midst of a lost and despairing world.”)

But I digress. I was speaking of pain. Pain just is. It’s probably best to incorporate it. That’s not to say that all will suffer greatly, but some will. Francis Schaeffer suffered from depression, at least for a time. Martin Luther called his bouts of discouragement “anfechtung,” or assaults. The Psalms are filled with pleas to God in the midst of agony.

Some of the people I love most are suffering greatly right now. Sometimes I suffer too. When I’m distressed, sometimes I can find my way to that “peaceful wreck” space. Sometimes I can’t. But I have this hope. God is love and love will win. That is how I choose to live.  

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