A Spectacular and Scary Promise

Christ Community Church | Houston

Our focus is Romans 8:17, and I’m calling it spectacular and scary. Spectacular because it says that we are the children of God and are therefore heirs of God. We will receive God’s inheritance, and that’s simply spectacular. God owns everything, and his children come into the inheritance of what he owns. Therefore, this is an immeasurably great promise.

And it’s scary because it says that we must suffer in order to get there: “If children, then heirs — heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided [or if] we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him” (Romans 8:17). So that’s the focus: the fact that all the children of God are heirs of God and will come into an immeasurably great inheritance, and the only way there is through suffering.

Two Ways the Holy Spirit Testifies

Let’s back up and notice Romans 8:16 because I really want you to experience the assurance that you are one of the children of God. And Paul is quite aware that everybody in this room struggles with that assurance. Everybody does — no exceptions, unless you are totally dishonest.

You all have had experiences, highs and lows, throughout which you wonder if you are a child of God. Paul would like to help you with that. He writes Romans 8:16 to help you with that: “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs.” If you belong to Christ, as Romans 8:9 says, then you have the Holy Spirit. He who does not have the Spirit does not belong to Christ. To belong to Jesus is to have the Holy Spirit.

What does he do for you once you have him? He testifies. What is he testifying to? That you are the child of God. That’s the reality of Romans 8:16. My question is, How does he do that? How does he do it for you?

My guess is that most of you could not answer that question, and God wants you to be able to answer that question. The Holy Spirit is not testifying in you so that you would continue to say, “I don’t know how the Holy Spirit testifies.” Isn’t the Bible wonderful? It’s going to answer that question for you so that you can know: “Oh, it is happening. I am his child because I know of the experience in Romans 8:16. The Holy Spirit is testifying.” Let’s go back and see two ways that he does it.

1. The Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin.

For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. (Romans 8:13–14)

When trusting in and leaning upon, by faith, the Holy Spirit, you make war on the sins of your life. Then Paul explains why that is. So, one of the things the Spirit does to testify — that is, to give evidence — is a lot like what witnesses do in the courtroom. They give evidence whether somebody is guilty or not guilty. “I was there,” they say. “I saw this happen. This mark on my hand happened when I touched that, and I was there. I am evidence that can be used in this courtroom to settle this case.” That is what witnesses do. Now what is the Holy Spirit’s evidence? What is he testifying?

“To belong to Jesus is to have the Holy Spirit.”

He is testifying by leading you, as it says in Romans 8:14. If you are led by him, you’re in. If you are led by him, you are a child. One of the evidences that the Witness is giving in the courtroom of your heart is this: “I lead you.” Where does he lead you? That is the connection between Romans 8:13 and Romans 8:14. He leads you to kill sin: “If by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” Therefore, the leading has to do with the killing.

So, one of the experiences of the Holy Spirit in testifying that you are a child of God is that when sin happens in your life, you make war. You hate it. If you are frustrated and angry at the sin in your life right now, that is the work of the Holy Spirit. He is loud, witnessing right now in your heart that you hate what you did yesterday. You wish you had not done it. It grieves your heart that you spoke that way to your wife, that you clicked on that pornography, that you were dishonest in that transaction. It is grieving your heart right now. That is God at work in your life. That is the Holy Spirit testifying, “You are mine.”

2. The Holy Spirit makes us cry out to the Father.

Here is the second way that the Holy Spirit testifies, which is from Romans 8:15. Read the second half:

You have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”

Where does this cry come from? It comes from the Spirit. By the Spirit we are crying, “Abba, Father.” So I would ask you, Does your heart cry to God, “Father, my Father, my Authority, my Need-Meeter, my Father”? Now, you can program a computer to say those words — right? You can program a computer to say, “Abba, Father.” But it does not mean the computer is a child of God. So, words coming out of your mouth are not the issue.

‘I Need You’

The key word is cry. By the Holy Spirit we cry. Paul doesn’t use the word cry mechanically. When you cry, your heart ascends: “Father, I need you. Father, I am just a little child. I am helpless in this world. I need a cosmic Father.” If that is the way your heart cries, that is the Holy Spirit.

So, you can know. He inclines my heart to hate my sin, to make war on it, and to kill the deeds of the body, and thus he shows me that I am Christ’s. He wells up within me, creating a sense of need, a sense of fragility, a sense of insecurity, a sense of vulnerability: “I need you, my God, as Father. I am so orphan-like.”

People of the Book

Of course, self-sufficient people do not talk like that, and therefore they are not Christian. The Holy Spirit humbles us to hate sin and to need a Father — that is his witness. He is witnessing by awakening a longing for a father in God, and by awakening a hatred for sin, which opposes that longing. You can feel the work of the Holy Spirit.

The reason we have the Bible is because human beings do not know how to interpret what happens to them when they are saved. You do not know what words to use or what name to use. You do not know how to describe anything. You do not know anything without the word. Romans 8:15 is describing to you what is happening when you feel the need for a father and when you feel hatred for sin. That is the Holy Spirit testifying that you are the child of God.

Hearts that Leap

First Corinthians 12:3 confirms what we have just seen about the way that the Holy Spirit testifies: “No one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says ‘Jesus is accursed!’ and no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except in the Holy Spirit.”

What does it mean that no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the witness and power and working of the Holy Spirit in your life? The answer is that no one can authentically say with meaning from the heart, “He’s my authority, he’s my king, he’s my treasure. I live for him.” You can’t talk like that without the Holy Spirit.

And if your heart leaps up to say that, then the Spirit of God is testifying that you are a child of God. That’s the way he does it. No one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. No one can say it and mean it. No one can say it and want it except by the Spirit. Therefore, if you say it and mean it, and if you say it and want it, then the Holy Spirit is at work testifying in your life.

Your Threefold Inheritance

Let’s shift from an explanation of how the Holy Spirit does it to letting him do it right now, by telling you how good it will be when it happens. The reason that the spectacular promise of Romans 8:17 — that you are an heir of God and a fellow heir with Christ — exists is *to awaken a longing for it in Spirit-touched, Spirit-moved people *.

One of the evidences that you are a child of God, which the Holy Spirit is giving to you right now, is that you really want to be a child of God. It sounds juicy to you. You do not say, “Ah, maybe. What I’d really like is to get home and watch a game because this is not interesting to me.” If that is true, the Holy Spirit is not doing it. But if you are saying, “Wow, this is awesome. With my inheritance as a child of God, I can endure anything,” then the Holy Spirit is at work in you.

“The Holy Spirit humbles us to hate sin and to need a Father.”

As you face the pleasures and the pains of life, what is it in the inheritance that God promises that makes those pleasures pale as if they were nothing compared to it? And what makes those pains become manageable until you get the inheritance? What is it in this text and throughout the Bible?

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. (Romans 8:18)

Paul wants you to share in such a stupendous hope of things –– glorious things that will be given to you and revealed to you –– such that the sufferings become as nothing. When you try to weigh how good it’s going to be with the inheritance against how bad it is right now, the inheritance outweighs the suffering totally. That’s the point of Romans 8:18: the inheritance that’s promised to us is the glory that is to be revealed to us, and it is so great as to make every trouble seem small. So what is the inheritance?

1. Our inheritance is the world.

Romans 4:13 says, “For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith.” To Abraham and his descendants God promises the world as a part of their inheritance. Now the question is, Do all you Gentiles qualify to be Abraham’s offspring?

Here’s what Galatians 3:29 says. “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” That is, if you belong to the Messiah, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise. It couldn’t be clearer. If you belong to Messiah Jesus, you are an heir of Abraham. Abraham’s heirs inherit the world. Does it remind you of the Beatitudes? “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5).

That’s a pretty big inheritance. Are you scrounging? Are you at war with your sister over an inheritance? Shame on you. Let her have it. You own the world. It’s only a matter of time.

All That Dwells Therein

This is one of the reasons that we get radically changed with regard to stuff. We own stuff. The prosperity gospel says you have to have it now. The Bible says you get it later. Give it now. Live to use stuff for people.

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19–21)

Where your treasure is, there your heart will be forever — owning everything. The first answer to the question, What’s your inheritance? is everything that God ever made is yours. Now that is so spectacular that it needs more support. Look at Psalm 24:1.

The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof,
   the world and those who dwell therein.

What does God have? What does God own that he could put in the will for his children when his Son dies? Everything, the world and all it contains, the earth and those who dwell therein.

If that sounds strange to you, and you’re thinking, “Oh, people too?” then turn to 1 Corinthians 3:21¬–23. Paul says,

So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future — all are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.

These are breathtaking statements, and if we believe them everything would change. Everything would change. Everything you look at in this world and are envious or covetous over — it’s yours. Just wait. Don’t be greedy. Greed sends people to hell. It says that in 1 Corinthians 6:9.

That means if you say to God, “I don’t like your timing, and I want my inheritance now,” you’re like the prodigal son. “Give it now. I like the stuff. I want it now. I don’t like your timing. I don’t want to pass through the suffering on the way to the inheritance.” That’s not the Holy Spirit witnessing. The Holy Spirit says, “Father, I trust you. Lord Jesus, you’re my king, I trust you. Whatever it takes. I want that inheritance. Whatever your timing, just bring me home.” That’s the way the Holy Spirit talks.

Death at Your Disposal

When you read 1 Corinthians 3:21–23 — “All things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death” — are you excited? Death is yours. What in the world does death mean? I don’t think I want that. You know — death. No thank you. I don’t want that as part of the inheritance. But that’s 1 Corinthians 3:22. Death is yours. Don’t boast in men. You have death.

Let’s just get real practical for a minute. If there are two cars and somebody says, “Which one is yours?” and you say, “That one is mine, that Toyota there, the yellow one,” what do you mean? “Well, I can get in it. I can drive it. It’s mine. I can do with it what I want. It serves me, it’s there at my disposal, it’s there to meet my needs. I get groceries, I go to the doctor, I use it. It’s mine. It helps me to get where I want to go. It satisfies the needs that it’s supposed to satisfy.”

And that’s what it means for death to be yours. It does what it’s supposed to do, gets you where you want to go, meets your needs. And so does everything else: ”For those who love God all things work together for good” (Romans 8:28).

Suffering at Your Service

A little later in Romans 8:35 it says

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?

Now, you should be responding, “No, they can’t separate us. They’re mine.” Meaning: my servants. Persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, sword — they’re mine. They serve me. Is that what the text says? It is, because next it says, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).

“Everything that God ever made is yours.”

Have you ever paused to say, “What does it mean to be ‘more than conqueror’? It’s already good to be a conqueror. Why do you need more? What’s more than a conqueror? If you’re in a battle with tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, and you’re the conqueror, they lie dead at your feet: “You’re dead. I conquered you.” And the bible says, “You’re more.” Now, what’s better than that?

What’s better than that is if they get up and serve you. If they’re dead, that’s fine. You say, “I killed you. I’m a conqueror over tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness. You’re dead, and I’m triumphant.”

The Bible says, “It gets better because you can say, ‘Get up and serve me. You’re mine. You’re my slave. You serve me, tribulation.” Tribulation serves you. Famine serves you. They are yours.

Everything for Your Good

Everything is working together for your good now, and for your satisfaction and everlasting joy in the age to come, with no downside anymore. I think it’s pretty practical. You just have to believe it.

That’s my first answer. What is your inheritance? Everything. The world and all that’s in it, including all the pain. Yours. Under God’s fatherly providence everything serves you.

2. Our inheritance is God.

Look at Romans 5:2: “We rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” What are you hoping for? The world and everything in it is going to be mine. Yes, that is absolutely right. Anything else? If there’s nothing else, you’re an idolater.

God is our inheritance. “We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:2). And if you think, “Oh, maybe the glory of God is all the stuff he has made,” look just a few verses later in Romans 5:11, which says, “More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”

My final boast, my final treasure, my final exultation and joy is not anything God made, but God himself. That’s my treasure, that’s my ultimate inheritance. God gives me himself. Revelation 21:3 says,

Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.

God himself will be with them as their God. That’s the final paradise. Yes, there will be a new heavens, a new earth, a new everything serving us. But the way it will serve us is by intensifying our capacities to discern the glories of God.

We will see God in everything. We will love him in everything. All the food and all the beauties of nature and all the sweetness of relationships won’t be idolatrous any more. There won’t even be a whiff of temptation to be idolatrous in the age to come. Everything will be enjoyed for itself as a catapult into God’s worship.

Whom have I in heaven but you?
   And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. (Psalm 73:25)

If God himself is not precious to you, you are a stranger to your inheritance. If you only love God because of his gifts, and not because of his beauty, sweetness, justice, goodness, kindness, meekness, you are a stranger to your inheritance. God is the apex of our inheritance.

3. Our inheritance is a glorified body.

All the bodies on earth are dying. They’re all decaying, wearing out, and that’s a sad thing. Plato and all his heirs thought, “Good riddance. Get rid of this body. Let my spirit free.” That’s not biblical religion. You get a new body. You don’t throw away a body. This body becomes a glorified body like the resurrection body of Jesus.

He ate fish after the resurrection for a reason, to show that he wasn’t a ghost. He said that ghosts do not have flesh and blood like Jesus. He invites the disciples to touch him and asks if they have anything to eat (Luke 24:39). And he ate fish before them. So I fully anticipate good fish in the kingdom, with a lot of rich, unhealthy batter that won’t hurt anybody. It’s going to be wonderful.

All that stuff that you’re not supposed to eat now, miraculously it will be made healthy for us forever because we get glorified bodies. I really believe that. It may be funny, but I believe that. Everything good in this world that has a downside to it because of the fall won’t have the downside anymore.

Pine Like Paul

Paul had no shame in saying, “I’m so ready for a new body. I’m just so ready.” Just look at Romans 8:22–23:

For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.”

I mean, Paul suffered more than any of us will ever suffer. His back must have been one tangled mass of scarred flesh because he was beaten nearly forty times and was lashed five times. I cannot imagine. He wanted a new body. And the older you get, the more you’ll understand.

Pleasures Made Catapults

As the Holy Spirit testifies that you are his, you will get this inheritance. And the evidence that he is working in you is that what I’m describing to you right now sounds attractive. You really want God, you’d love to live in the new heavens and earth, and you’d love to have a new body so that you have the capacities to enjoy it purely, and not sinfully.

I have lots of pleasures in my life and almost all of them are contaminated. The most innocent pleasures are wrecked by idolatrous John Piper. You are given this wonderful pizza to eat, you eat it, and you realize, “Oh, I wasn’t as thankful as I should be, and it didn’t catapult my heart to God. It was just an end-in-itself.” And you say, “God, would you just please get me to the place where I can really eat pizza? Worship, worship, worship — with pizza.”

“God is the apex of our inheritance.”

And I long for that. I really do. I want to be done with sinning. I want to be done with second-guessing myself all the time. Right? I just hate it. I hate the curse that is on this world, causing us to say, “We groan while waiting for the redemption of our bodies.” And that’s not just because you can’t see anymore, and your back hurts, and you have elbows that don’t work right, and you have cancer. That’s not the only reason you need a new body.

You need a new body because you don’t have the capacities with this old body to even begin to enjoy all the stupendous pleasures that are out there. All the pleasures that are good on earth which you could enjoy purely, you can’t enjoy purely — because it’s always messed up by our fallen brains. I’d just like to be done with all of that so that I could purely enjoy what God has made. Not to be an idol, but to be a means of worship.

Suffering with Christ

One last thing. This is the scary part of the promise. It says at the end of Romans 8:17,

If children, then heirs — heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.”

There’s only one path. There are not two paths: the no-suffering path to the inheritance and the suffering path. You can get there on one road: trouble, affliction with Jesus.

How God Beckons Us Home

So, it’s a conditional promise as most of them are, but Paul in no way is undermining your assurance at this point. He’s helping you. Because if he didn’t tell you that the pathway to the inheritance was a conflicted pathway, you’d be bumping into this stuff over and over again and saying, “Where are you? Where are you? I thought I was your child.” And he’s saying, “You are my child, and I’m telling you that as my child, I bring you home through suffering.”

That’s what he’s saying, and that’s good news for us. If you don’t know how he brings you home, you’d think the suffering was a detour. Maybe you’d think, “I’m not a child after all. Things wouldn’t go so bad for me if I was really a child.” And he’d say, “Oh, no, no, no, no. No. You’re experiencing tough stuff in your life because that’s how I bring you home.” Here are a few other passages to put it in perspective.

Ache of Affliction

Luke 9:23 says, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” What’s a cross? It’s an execution place. It’s death, and Jesus wants us to put it on daily.

Daily we die. Paul said, “I die every day!” (1 Corinthians 15:31). There’s something every day that has to be died to. Something is coming your way and is promising you life, but it doesn’t give life, and so you die. You must say to it, “No. I’m dead to you.” That’s a little teeny affliction, a little teeny suffering.

You’re putting that cross on every day and something comes your way. You could use the standard pornography thing. It could be money, or it could be some opportunity to puff yourself up on Twitter. And you don’t buy it. You just say, “No. I’m dead to that.” A little teeny denial, a little teeny affliction.

Pangs in Persecution

Look at 2 Timothy 3:12: “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” Sooner or later in America or in Somalia, a life sold out to Jesus in every way meets persecution. It might not be big in America yet. And it might be. The little ones are painful too. Little eyerolls at work which seem to say, “Oh, you’re one of those born-again jerks who hate gays.” And you say, “I’m not. I am born-again, but not that.” That’s not easy.

Discomfort of Discipline

Hebrews 12:6 says, “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” That’s an important word: every. “It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons.” That’s Hebrews 12:7. Every child of God is disciplined by God. And the context there is pretty serious because it says, “You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood” (Hebrews 12:4).

They’re not quite at the point where the persecution is violent. They’re at the point where the persecution is ostracism. And God says, “That’s me. That’s my fatherly love for you. I discipline those whom I love, and my discipline providentially happens through opposition from other people.” Now you have a paradigm, you’ve got a context to handle the tough stuff that you’re bumping into in relationships. It’s the pathway to inheritance. It’s the Father all over you. He says, “I’m here in their criticism.”

All Is Gain

Now turn to Peter 4:13, which says, “But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.” Here’s my inference from those texts and Romans 8:17. No pain, no gain. No cross, no crown. No suffering, no inheritance. That’s the way God has set it up. In other words, when it says in Romans 8:23 that we’re groaning, I would say all the groaning experienced on the path of obedience is what the suffering refers to in Romans 8:17.

“Every child of God is disciplined by God.”

Because if you limit it to only hard things done to you from others because you’re a Christian, you’re missing a big piece of your suffering. Every pain in your life, every frustration in your life, every conflict in your life, every difficulty in your life that you experience while walking on the path towards the inheritance is suffering with and for Jesus because it is being used by the devil to threaten your faith and used by God to strengthen your faith. And if you will embrace it, the way Romans 8:17 says that you should, it’s your pathway to glory, God is triumphant, and the devil is defeated.

I don’t care if it’s a stubbed toe on your way to shopping. How you handle a stubbed toe in relation to the Almighty bears witness of your faith in his providence. If you’re in his face and say, “I am so against stubbed toes. That’s another problem today. This is a bad day” — look, if you’re not in hell, it’s a good day.

But Why, God?

Why would God ordain that the pathway to the inheritance be suffering and only suffering? There is no suffering-free access. It doesn’t mean everything on the path is suffering. I’m feeling really good right now. I have no stomachache, no headache, no backache. God is good. Right? I do not mean that there are not good things on the way. I mean that there will be suffering.

”Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). There’s no other way. Now, why would that be? Why would God set it up that way? Here’s a clue from Romans 5:3: “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance.” Endurance of what? Faith. How does that work?

Kicking Out Our Crutches

In every hardship — from the tiny stubbed toe to the loss of a spouse or child, from the smallest to the biggest — God is kicking out from under you the props that were supporting your happiness. You can either curse God or fall on God.

And God is kicking them for you so that you can fall on him because that’s what makes you strong. Remember Paul in 2 Corinthians 1:8–9? “We were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.”

Rooted in the Bedrock

God brought Paul to the brink of death for one reason. There was only one person to trust now: the God who raises the dead. All of our hardships are designed to make our faith stronger, to make us rely more on God, from the littlest to the biggest. That’s why it’s the pathway to glory. We have to trust him. Faith is the only way to heaven, and tribulation serves our faith if the Holy Spirit is testifying that God is your Father. If the Holy Spirit doesn’t do that, you get angry at God: “I don’t want this anymore. I’m out of here. If this is the way the children get treated, I’m out of here.” You don’t have the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit says, “Father, I need you. This is hard. This is really hard, but you’re my Father and Jesus is my Lord, and this is the pathway to the inheritance, so I’m all in. Help me.” That’s the way the Holy Spirit talks. So if you respond to hardship by saying, “I need the Father, and Jesus is my Lord,” the Holy Spirit is bearing witness with your spirit that you are the child of God.

Newton on the Broken Carriage

I’m going to close with a story from John Newton. I hope some of you have heard of this. I come back to it over and over to convict myself of my murmuring. Paul said in Philippians 2:14, “Do all things without grumbling or disputing.” Is there a more condemning verse in the Bible?

This is John Newton writing in the eighteenth century, so there are no cars. There are only carriages, so picture a horse-drawn carriage. A man is on the way to New York to get his inheritance, and here’s what happens:

Suppose a man was going to New York to take possession of a large estate . . .

Let’s just say it’s worth five million dollars.

. . . and his carriage should break down a mile before he got to the city . . .

This is where we are in our walk towards heaven.

. . . which obliged him to walk the rest of the way; what a fool we should think him if we saw him wringing his hands and blubbering out during the remaining mile, “My carriage is broken! My carriage is broken!”

He is on his way to an inheritance worth millions of dollars. He can fix the carriage.

Christians Weep with Hope

Here’s my addition to the story. Sometimes your kid falls over the cliff when the wheel comes off the carriage, and you fall out of the carriage and crush your knee so that you never walk normal again on the mile that’s left in your life. That happens. So, I don’t want to make light of broken carriages here.

We all can laugh at a broken carriage, but it’s not as easy to say, “I lost my kid when he was five of Leukemia.” I’ve buried so many kids. You know this. There are whole sections of Wood Lawn Cemetery with little teeny places reserved, and to watch a dad carry a white box is a carriage that you don’t make light when it’s broken.

But he can know, for himself, for this child, for his wife: “Just a mile, just a mile over the hill I get the child, I get the wife, I get the health, I get the world, I get God, I get a new body to enjoy it all.” And that’s how his tears will not be the tears of those who have no hope. He will weep. We will weep — though we won’t weep as those who don’t have an inheritance.

My prayer for you now is that God would awaken the witness of the Holy Spirit, causing you to call out, “Abba, Father,” and causing you to hate the sin in your life that murmurs against the Father and betrays the Father. And if those two things are happening, then the Spirit is speaking loud and clear into your life, “You’re mine.”