Chapter 6 is entitled, "Redefining Hope." That title got my attention for a couple of reasons:
- My whole life message is based on the hope--the unswerving hope--that God began speaking about to me when my daughter died.
- After reading the first 5 chapters, I was feeling pretty convicted of my "elder brother" sins and needed to find hope for a way to be freed from them!
Keller talks about the parable of the prodigal son being, not just a story about one man and his sons, and not just to point out each of our personal sins, but how "Jesus retold the story of the whole human race and promised nothing less than hope for the world."
That flicker of hope begins with a certain desire for "home" that each of us feels. He quotes C. S. Lewis, "Our lifelong nostalgia, our longing to be reunited with something in the universe from which we feel cut off, to be on the inside of some door which we have always seen from the outside, is no mere neurotic fancy, but the truest index of our real situation."
I felt that feeling of longing for home in the days and weeks following my daughter's death. The longing was not for my hometown, it was for something longer ago than that--not from my earthly childhood, but from eternity past. It was kind of like a dream that you remember for a split second, but then it quickly fades away as your mind furiously tries to hold on to it. The memory of that home is just out of reach. It's right there, but you can't quite grasp it.
Back to Keller's book--toward the end of chapter 6, Keller quotes Isaiah 35, "Your God will come... he will come to save you. Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. The ransomed of the Lord will return, they will enter Zion with singing. Everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away."
Oh, how my heart longs for that day--to see my ransomed son set free--to see my daughter alive again! To see them, along with my parents and other relatives and friends singing and dancing, overtaken by joy! On that day, it will not be my nostalgic memory fading as I attempt to grasp it, it will be my sorrow and sighing that will be evaporating! And that is my unswerving hope, redefined!