I hesitate to call this a review. In fact, most of what I write about any book on this blog isn't a formal review. I won't cover all the points or sections. I won't be organized or systematic in what I say. But I will share my impressions of the book and some favorite passages.
I have had this book by Tim Keller on my shelf since last year. I thought it might be a good book for my Growth Group to read together as many of us were going through some tough stuff. But it was a bit long for our group format and I set it aside to read myself at another time.
Since my cancer diagnosis, I've been filled with a strong desire to do cancer well and honor God with my suffering. I decided this was a great time to read this book and get Mr. Keller's thoughts on how to navigate suffering well.
He did not disappoint me! I found much in here to encourage me and instruct me. I also found that I was moving in the right direction and instinctively doing many of the right things. My years of studying God's word and learning how to pray have prepared me well to walk this path of suffering.
He recommends that those who are currently going through a period of suffering should start with the second section and just skip the first until a later time. I agreed with his reasoning and skipped over a section in a book for the first time in my life. I felt somewhat naughty for doing so but quickly got over it as I got lost in his words in section two.
A few of my favorite quotes...
"Because suffering is both just and unjust, we can cry out and pour out our grief, yet without the toxic additive of bitterness. Because God is both sovereign and suffering, we know our suffering always has meaning, even though we cannot see it. We can trust him without understanding it all." (pg. 154)
"Trials and troubles in life, which are inevitable, will either make you or break you. But either way, you will not remain the same." (pg. 190)
"...everything that happens to us in life has both a limit and a purpose." (pg. 195)
"When troubles come, you will need God's help to find the particular insights, consoling thoughts, and wisdom you will need to get you through. Some of these you may have already known intellectually, but God will have to make them real and relevant in a new way. Others you will not have seen before and will have to learn. But that is how you survive." (pg. 199)
"Knowing him personally while in our affliction is the key to becoming stronger rather than weaker in it." (pg. 229)
"...we should also be gentle and patient with ourselves. We should not assume that if we are trusting in God we won't weep, or feel anger, or feel hopeless." (pg. 242)
"If the story of Joseph and the whole of the Bible is true, then anything that comes into your life is something that, as painful as it is, you need in some way." (pg. 267)
I recommend this book to anyone who is struggling through something hard. We are all called to suffer at times and this is a great resource to help you in these situations.