Walter Brueggemann has suggested that both Judaism and Christianity were forged in the experience of suffering, respectively in the experience of the Exile and the Crucifixion of Jesus. However both ultimately emerge from their suffering with a memory that inspires hope. The theological explanation is that God does not abandon us; that even in the midst of our most desperate fears, God remembers us and offers us new life, new hope, new possibilities.
This is a helpful model for those engaged in active social service. How do we continue to deal on a daily basis with the apparently endless onslaught of human misery? We remember that our faith is based in the memory and hope of past, present and future salvation.