“God’s Grace in Your Suffering”
Author: David Powlison
Crossway Publishers, (2018), 127 pgs.
“Why me? Why do I have to suffer as I do? What have I done to deserve this? Where is God in all my affliction? How do I deal with this? What do I do now?”
Common questions humanity has asked in the face of pain since the dawn of time. The author, David Powlison, takes these questions to the next level and asks a deeper, more applicable question especially for Christians today, “How does God meet you in trouble, loss, disability and pain?”
Creatively, the author asks the reader to personalize their particular suffering and visualize it in the form of a workshop using the backdrop of the beloved church hymn, “How Firm a Foundation,” as the stage on which he biblically portrays how God’s grace dramatically performs in our life challenges to bless us beyond our wildest imagination.
Through this classic hymn, Powlision extrapolates rich expository truths, stanza by stanza, that resonate through Scripture. His keen grasp of our typical negative reactions to suffering is readily apparent in his writing which no doubt originates from his extensive Christian Counseling ministry background.
The central premise of the book is clearly pastoral and devotional, not academic or philosophical, “How can God’s goodness help me to respond to my affliction in a way which will honor Him and bless me at the same time, in the most spiritually productive manner?”
Suffering is a very personal, sensitive experience. Physical ailments, mental health issues, grieving over a lost one, “God’s Grace in Your Suffering” gives you the freedom to make this journey of reading it as personal as possible. A lot of emotions might come up while reading this, but that’s okay. When you answer the questions in the book, you’re bound to take a good hard look at yourself and your suffering. “Various trials” are inevitable in life. Christianity isn’t a breeze. God doesn’t promise you an easy life. What He does promise you is that He will be there in the midst of your suffering. “A sufferers primal need is to hear God talking and to experience him purposefully at work. When you hear, take to heart, and know that he is with you, everything changes, even when nothing has changed in your situation.”
Perhaps the greatest take-away I experienced from this book is a freshly renewed, profound sense of new gratitude to God for how His goodness promises to use suffering in my Christian life and how I can better cooperate with His grace towards that end. I could keenly sense God’s loving, encouraging, strengthening voice filling me with enduring hope to run my marathon race of faith with a new depth of courage and determination I did not have before I read this book.
My heartfelt prayer is that your perspective on suffering will change through reading this book. That you will understand God’s perspective and good purpose on suffering. This book is vital for the Christian, because suffering is inevitable. Powlison invites his readers into his world and how God worked through his own suffering. By doing that, he warmly encourages his readers that they don’t have to walk through suffering alone. I highly recommend this book to all believers.
Crossway Publishers, through the Blog Review program, provided a complimentary copy of this book for my review.
David Crews, Ph.D.