Monday, August 19, 2013

what I'm reading: a book to give someone while they are suffering

There are lots of good books to read to prepare you for suffering (Don Carson's How Long O Lord is the best).

There are a few good books to read while you're suffering (Joni Eareckson's When God Weeps is excellent, but it might have to wait till you can see things more clearly).

Here's that rare thing - a book I'd gladly give to someone deep in suffering, for that moment when they can begin to read again: Nancy Guthrie's Holding On To Hope.

It's devotional, based on the book of Job. It's written out of great pain (the loss of a baby, and the coming loss of another). The readings are short and clear. Each explores one idea - "Loss", "Despair", "Tears" - with understanding and biblical wisdom.

I'm reading it at the moment. As I read, I find myself going, "You too!", about specific and unexpected aspects of suffering. Then I read on and find an answer from God's word that speaks to my need, and an exhortation to cling to faith and hope.

Here's one bit that jumped off the page.
Sometimes what God has allowed into our lives is so bitter that we're hurt and angry and don't even want to talk to him about it.

But where does that leave us?

On our own. No resources, no truth to dispel the despair, no hope.

The truth is, there is no comfort to be found away from God; at least, there is no lasting, deep, satisfying comfort. Revenge, ritual, retreat - they don't bring any lasting relief from the pain.

Only the truth of God's Word, the tenderness of his welcome, the touch of his healing presence bring the kind of comfort we crave. Only his promises of purpose in this life and perfection in the life to come offer us any kind of real hope to hold on to.

Do you find yourself wanting to leave the faith you've claimed now that it has been put to the test of adversity? So where will you go? In your discouragement, where will you find the comfort you so desperately crave? ...

Even though we don't understand, and it is so dark we cannot see to take a step forward, we can choose to hang on, to keep trusting, to keep believing God's Word.
 "So where will you go?"

Nowhere else but here.

Nancy Guthrie Holding On To Hope 46-47 (my emphasis).


Dena Maxwell said...

I ready your blog EVERY DAY. When you don't have a new post, I go back and reread the old ones. Keep writing.

Jean said...

Lovely to hear from you. I hope you're reading the Bible before you read what I write though! ;D

Sherryn @ said...

Thanks for this post. I agree, D A Carson's How Long O Lord is the best I have ever read on the subject. R C Sproul has a new series on suffering. I will be interested to see how it stacks up to the Don. Blessings to you!