The hands of the king are the hands of a healer, and so shall the rightful king be known.
–Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
My witness is that those who are honored of their Lord in public, have usually to endure a secret chastening, or to carry a peculiar cross, lest by any means they exalt themselves and fall into the snare of the devil.
— Lectures to My Students
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God:for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance. (Psalms 42:5 KJV)
Greg Gilbert in his book What is the Gospel?
Let me introduce you to god (note the lowercase g). You might want to lower your voice a little before we go in. He might be sleeping now. He’s old, you know, and doesn’t much understand or like this “newfangled” modern world. His golden days— the ones he talks about when you really get him going—were a long time ago, before most of us were even born. That was back when people cared what he thought about things, and considered him pretty important to their lives. Of course all that’s changed now, though, and god— poor fellow—just never adjusted very well. Life’s moved on and passed him by. Now, he spends most of his time just hanging in the garden out back. I go there sometimes to see him, and there we tarry, walking and talking softly and tenderly among the roses…
Anyway, a lot of people still like him, it seems— or at least he manages to keep his poll numbers pretty high. And you’d be surprised how many people even drop by to visit and ask for things every once in a while. But of course that’s alright with him. He’s here to help. Thank goodness, all the crankiness you read about sometimes in his old books —you know, having the earth swallow people up, raining fire down on cities, that sort of thing— all that seems to have faded in his old age. Now he’s just a good -natured, low-maintenance friend who’s really easy to talk to— especially since he almost never talks back , and when he does, it’s usually to tell me through some slightly weird “sign” that what I want to do regardless is alright by him . That really is the best kind of friend, isn’t it?
You know the best thing about him, though? He doesn’t judge me. Ever, for anything. Oh sure, I know that deep down he wishes I’d be better— more loving, less selfish, and all that— but he’s realistic. He knows I’m human and nobody’s perfect. And I’m totally sure he’s fine with that. Besides, forgiving people is his job . It’s what he does. After all, he’s love, right? And I like to think of love as “never judging, only forgiving.” That’s the god I know. And I wouldn’t have him any other way.
Alright, hold on a second. . . . Okay, we can go in now. And don’t worry, we don’t have to stay long. Really. He’s grateful for any time he can get.
D.A. Carson in Basics for Believers: An Exposition of Philippians:
I would like to buy about three dollars worth of gospel, please. Not too much—just enough to make me happy, but not so much that I get addicted. I don’t want so much gospel that I learn to really hate covetousness and lust. I certainly don’t want so much that I start to love my enemies, cherish self-denial, and contemplate missionary service in some alien culture. I want ecstasy, not repentance; I want transcendence, not transformation. I would like to be cherished by some nice, forgiving, broad-minded people, but I myself don’t want to love those from different races—especially if they smell. I would like enough gospel to make my family secure and my children well behaved, but not so much that I find my ambitions redirected or my giving too greatly enlarged. I would like about three dollars worth of gospel, please.
The intellectual life is not the only road to God, nor the safest, but we find it to be a road, and it may be the appointed road for us. Of course, it will be so only so long as we keep the impulse pure and disinterested.