Join Them in Their Joy

Joe Rigney | April 23, 2015


As Christians who take the Bible’s teaching on heaven and hell seriously, we are often faced with the tension between the mundane joys of life and the reality of the eternal stakes. During certain seasons of my life this tension has been paralyzing. How could I attend a college football game knowing that thousands of my fellow fans were lost and perishing? How could I enjoy the simple joys of picnics and Frisbee when many of those passing by were accursed and cut off from Christ? How can I experience and enjoy the normal delights of human life when we’re all perched on a ledge with the New Jerusalem on one side and the burning fields of Gehenna on the other, and millions traveling the broad way that leads to destruction?

I thought about these questions recently as I was reading The Brothers Karamazov with my students. After the death of the beloved elder Zosima, Alyosha Karamazov is torn between the sanctified life of the monastery and his concern for his debauched father and unbelieving brothers. In the midst of his wrestling, Alyosha has a strange experience, an encounter with the grace of the God that marks him for the rest of his life. While…


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