If you think you’ve seen this before, you probably have. I am copying Justin Taylor’s post on Pastor John’s address to the Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization because it not only speaks to those who want to serve those who are suffering, it also speaks to those who are currently suffering.
There is a kind of suffering people need to know about that is much worse than anything we experience in this life! And at the same time God also calls people to serve those who suffer – some to serve those living with disability, some with disabilities to serve the church, some to serve in other ways and other places, all for the glory of God.
And for those who are suffering, there are promises to cling to:
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11
Here is Justin’s post quoting Pastor John:
One truth is that when the gospel takes root in our souls it impels us out toward the alleviation of all unjust suffering in this age. That’s what love does!
The other truth is that when the gospel takes root in our souls it awakens us to the horrible reality of eternal suffering in hell, under the wrath of a just and omnipotent God. And it impels us to rescue the perishing, and to warn people to flee from the wrath to come (1 Thess. 1:10).
I plead with you. Don’t choose between those two truths. Embrace them both. It doesn’t mean we all spend our time in the same way. God forbid. But it means we let the Bible define reality and define love.
Could Lausanne say—could the evangelical church say—we Christians care about all suffering, especially eternal suffering? I hope we can say that. But if we feel resistant to saying “especially eternal suffering,” or if we feel resistant to saying “we care about all suffering in this age,” then either we have a defective view of hell or a defective heart.
I pray that Lausanne would have neither.