Grieving with hope: A mark of deep faith

Grieving with hope: A mark of deep faith

Grieving with hope: A mark of deep faith

"But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep." (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14)

Tim Keller – the prolific author, church planter, and pastor – left this earth and found himself in the presence of Jesus on Friday. A lot of pastors can convey spiritual truth; Dr. Keller did it with eloquence:  

Keller: "I have never been more moved than when I realize the fulfillment we've been looking for in work, in having wonderful spouses, in having lots of children and making money – the blessing we've been looking for is actually in the face of God."

Keller passed into the presence of God after a three-year battle with pancreatic cancer. In his 48 years of public ministry, he authored 31 books that sold more than six-million copies. His biographer, Collin Hansen -- who is executive director of The Keller Center for Cultural Apologetics -- tells AFN Keller had a special love for urban ministry.

"I know that just about anywhere in the world I might visit, if it's a major city, no matter how secular it might be, chances are that there is a church there [that] was either directly planted by Tim or it was in some way inspired by him," Hansen shares.

Dr. Robert Jeffress of First Baptist-Dallas says he appreciated the intellect Keller brought to his books and sermons. "I think Dr. Keller is one who helped persuade a number of people that you don't have to commit intellectual suicide to be a Christian," the Southern Baptist pastor says.

Among the online tributes to Keller's life was Christian artist Steven Curtis Chapman, who spoke – and sang – of the hope all believers have in Christ.

"Tim Keller has gone to be with Jesus," said the popular singer and songwriter, "and as we are praying for and remembering his wife, Kathy, and his family and his friends closest to him, remember this with me:

[Singing] "We can grieve with hope 'cause we believe with hope there's a place where we'll dance in the light of his grace and a place where we'll see the face again."

Keller is survived by his wife of 48 years, Kathy; his three sons David, Michael, and Jonathan; his sister Sharon Johnson of Sorrento, Florida; his daughters-in-law Jennifer, Sara, and Ann-Marie; and seven grandchildren – Lucy, Kate, Charlotte, Miles, William, Eleanor, and Daniel.