In my opinion, Suffering Well by Paul Grimmond is a vital book that every Christian should read. Paul has a very readable style that is accessible to readers and non-readers alike. The book opens with looking at two scenarios: Simon is struggling with persecution for his faith and Sally is suffering with a terminal illness. Paul asks the reader: ‘If an angel appeared to you tonight in a dream and said that you had to choose between experiencing either Simon’s suffering or Sally’s suffering, which would you choose and why?’
Paul then goes on to ask and address pertinent questions. He encourages Christians to consider what the Bible says about suffering, rather than simply trying to answer the question of why there is suffering from society’s point of view. It is easy to think of God as some weak being who cannot do anything about suffering in the world, whether persecution of His own children, natural disasters, or mass shootings We can sometimes be tempted to make excuses to our non-believing friends for Him. But Paul considers what God Himself has to say about suffering.
There are different kinds of suffering. There is the suffering of persecution for being a Christian, natural suffering such as flooding or illness, and the suffering that comes with Christian maturity of longing for those around us to know God. Paul explains from the Bible that ‘suffering is at the very heart of God’s plan to create a perfect world and to glorify Himself through His Son’. It is through suffering that Christians mature and deepen their intimacy with God.
After considering the whys of suffering from a biblical perspective, Paul shows the reader – again, from the Bible – what our response to suffering should be.
I found this book to be encouraging and challenging. It is very helpful in preparing for suffering (we all go through hard seasons from time-to-time, it’s part of life). It has blessed and edified me, strengthening me to keep going in the face of adversity. In a time when the health, wealth and prosperity gospel is popular, it is invaluable to have this excellent book teaching God’s viewpoint on the issue of suffering. It is a book that every Christian should read and refer to regularly. I cannot recommend it highly enough. If I had to describe it in two words, they would be well-balanced and biblical.
If you would like to hear more from the author, listen to his interview with Shaun Tabbatt at Cross Focused Reviews.