I was reading John Piper’s “Brothers, We Are Not Professionals” when I came across the following words from Luther.
”Night and day I pondered until I saw the connection between the righteousness of God and the statement that “the just shall live by faith.” Then I grasped that the righteousness of God is that righteousness by which through grace and sheer mercy God justifies us through faith. Thereupon I felt myself to be reborn and to have gone through open doors into paradise**.**”
Last year, in March, a few weeks after reading the following passage.
Jesus,' he said, 'remember me when you come into your kingdom. Indeed, I promise you,' he replied, 'today you will be with me in paradise.
In my agony of many moments last year, I desired that I would be with Jesus as clearly and surely as he was with the murderer on that day in paradise.
My agony stemmed from my surety that whatever I have striven for was in vain. For I was torn in all directions by the demands of career, family, travel, and a girl for the first time. After a mere few weeks, the girl told me we were incompatible, and the heights of my agony were reached. Failure greeted me, and I fell into despair.
All my striving, all these eight years of study, all these five years of saying yes to family, study, and research and no to games, all these two years of trying to recover from my lust whilst earning a solid sum of money for the first time, it all came to naught. I could not find anything left within me to keep going. The only will that was left in me was to sin, and naught else. Lust and laziness plagued me.
And so in my agony I wished for paradise. For surely, I said to myself, if I was treated like Jesus treated the murderer, I was already in paradise with Jesus.
For was not earth once paradise? Were we not made for the Garden of Eden?
But the happiness of paradise, the freedom of paradise, where was it?
And yet deep was planted the hope for paradise’s freedom, paradise’s happiness.
For I am still caught in slavery to many sins. Pride especially. Lust, less so. Unbelief and its fruit – doubt – undulating. My life is far from freedom. My life is more like death.
But no longer do I relentlessly despair. At times during the day, I wait with my head buried in the carpet, as I await the salvation of the Lord. May Jesus save me from all my chains so that I may experience paradise fully, as much as is able, on earth.
My heart is cold, but I am still awake. Time still trickles to me, second by second. Oh may I use it well! The Lord gives time. People give money.
26 it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.
27 It is good for a man to bear the yoke
while he is young.
28 Let him sit alone in silence,
for the Lord has laid it on him.
29 Let him bury his face in the dust—
there may yet be hope. (Jeremiah et. al. -586)
And so there may yet be hope. I am walking in the dark. Trying to strain to see what future I would hope for – what plans I must make to wrest my destiny out of existence’s rough hands – is too painful to dwell on. Dreaming is mostly futile to me, at this time. Reason only endlessly asks questions, over and over again, incessantly. Reason exhausts me.
There may yet be hope.