Suffering is not optional in life and because of that we should be prepared to walk through suffering and to minister to those who are suffering. In When Trouble Comes Phil Ryken walks through some of the most important examples of those who went through suffering in the pages of Scripture drawing out application for today from the accounts.
Ryken in his prologue addresses a particularly dark period in his life in which he battled despair.This is helpful in that often times it easy to in a way dehumanize those who are looked up to as leaders and seeing them as being immune to the sufferings common people go through. In considering the individuals examined it becomes clear that Ryken has a purpose in the variety, and that purpose is to explore the broadness of suffering. People don’t suffer in just one way and in one set of circumstances. We see the suffering that comes through addressing sin and guilt in awareness of the holiness of God as reflected in Isaiah’s experience. We are minded that those areas we might think ourselves most gifted and faithful in might be the place where sin and guilt are most present. We see the crushing reality of discouragement and despair as well as the comfort and patience of God in Elijah’s life. From David, Job, Mary, Jesus and to Paul we are driven to a greater understanding of suffering and what God might be doing in the midst of our suffering. Most importantly Ryken leaves readers with hope as they prepare for suffering.
Suffering has come. In your church there are people walking through suffering. Suffering will come. Your life might seem like it is going smoothly but that doesn’t change the fact someday you will suffer. You might hear devastating news from your doctor, stand at the grave of a spouse or child, or be confronted by the true depths of your sinfulness before a holy and righteous God. When it comes you don’t want to find yourself to either walk through suffering or to walk alongside those who are suffering. Read and reflect on the realities of God and suffering in this book.
Disclosure: I received a copy of the book from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing it. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html