affliction

The believer, by rights, is best able to bear bad news. After all, we believe that we are morally corrupt, unable to reform ourselves, and so incorrigible that the only solution was that the Son of God live and die in our place. If we can accept that, we should be able to face hard truths about our...
Johann Heermann and the Comfort of the Cross In the spring of 1630, while the Thirty-Year War raged around Europe, pastor and poet Johann Heermann wrote a hymn to inspire his congregation to meditate on Christ’s suffering. Ah, holy Jesus, how hast thou offended, that we to judge thee have in hate...
John Donne – Poet of Grace and Comfort In 1623, when a sudden illness brought the poet and preacher John Donne close to death, he expressed his lament with words that may sound relevant during our coronavirus pandemic: “Variable and therefore miserable condition of man! This minute I was well, and...
Paul Gerhardt and His Songs of Confident Hope In 1943, the German pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote from his lonely prison cell, “I’ve lately learnt for the first time to appreciate the hymn, ‘Beside thy cradle here I stand.’ Up to now I hadn't made much of it; I suppose one has to be alone for a...
“As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2 Timothy 4:5). A recent article about the corona virus, written by a London physician ends with an alarming cry: “We’re heading into the abyss.” Meanwhile, others insist that we are over-...
Patrick and His Mission Every year, we read articles about the “real” Saint Patrick – the one who didn’t drive out snakes and didn’t use a shamrock to explain the Trinity. His own account of his life, expressed in his Confessions , has become better known, but is still not commonly read. Yet, it...
To know how to act, we need to know what story we are in. Without suggesting that anyone wants to create a false narrative about the corona virus, the media can lead us to think we are in a short story when we are in a novel. In a sports-crazed nation, we hear that opening day for Major League...
Betsey Stockton and Her Love for God’s Image-Bearers Whatever Betsey had imagined her foreign mission to be, it was not this. The group of Hawaiian men who came rowing toward her ship in their canoes was frightening: “Their appearance was that of half man and half beast—naked—except a narrow strip...
Phillis Wheatley (c. 1753-1784) and her Sovereign God Whatever moved the Wheatleys to buy the little slave that had just arrived from Africa, it was not her physical strength. Small, frightened and skinny, she looked too frail to do much work. The Wheatleys’ choice might have been due to the fact...
Ministering With a Clear Conscience Why does Paul emphasize clearness of conscience in regard to one’s ministry? James defines “conscience”, expands on its dual function, and talks about how it often speaks against our will. The hosts discuss the fallibility of the conscience, and how it can—at...