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Book Review: Suffering Well

8 December, 2012

I began reading this book a few weeks ago. Ironically, I was reading it on the day that Dad died. I’d commented about that to a few people then promptly forgotten about it, until I discovered it open in my Kindle app.

I don’t think it was an accident that I was reading it in the lead up to Dad’s death or that I rediscovered it today, when I had the time to devote to finishing it.

I found Suffering Well to be thoroughly biblical. There are no platitudes in the book, no criticism of those who suffer because they “lack faith”, no encouragement for us to flee suffering as though it was something that could be avoided. Suffering Well looks at what the Bible says about suffering – that it will happen, that God is in control of it all and that all the Bible teaches that suffering is part of our lives – as part of a fallen creation, in persecution for following Christ and in seeking the heart of God and grieving for the things that grieve God’s heart.

A true understanding of what suffering is and why suffering is, is vital. This understanding is what allows us to praise God in every circumstance.

I cannot profess to have learnt all there is to learn about suffering, and suffering well, but I can testify to my own faith and the faith of my family in our own time of grief and suffering. We don’t know why God chose to take my father home at the young age of 57 but we do know through and through that God was and is in control. We can testify of His graciousness to us in Dad’s final days and in the days since his death. I know that our faith in this difficult time has been encouraging to others.

I hope and pray that I can transfer this attitude of praise in the most difficult circumstances to the less tragic but difficult and trying times in life – because they will come, it is just a question of when.

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