Suffering Well

I am very pleased to recommend Suffering Well by Paul Grimmond.  This book presents Biblical truth in a way that can transform your heart and mind when it comes to suffering.  (I don't know how to better recommend it than saying that.)  Grimmond's overarching theme is that we can expect to suffer as Christians.  He is never cavalier about suffering however, emphasizing that some suffering is unimaginable to him.  For those of you who have suffered greatly: this book will not turn you off. On to a few special features of the book that I think make it stand out:

First, he briefly draws our attention to the how the thinking of our own age has predisposed us to approach suffering.  I found this very helpful.  The treatment here is brief, but sets the stage for self reflection.

Second, Grimmond raises "reviling" to its proper place among Christian sufferings.  This emphasis, in turn, carries an implicit call to discipleship for those who are not suffering physically, but are nonetheless called to suffer.

Third, Suffering Well draws attention to another category of suffering.  In addition to general suffering (because of the fall) and suffering due to persecution (which includes reviling), there is suffering for Christ that is not persecution: watching the lost wallow in sin and misery; longing for the salvation of someone and not seeing it; and, seeing fellow Christian's rebel against God.  I found Grimmond's treatment of this last category very encouraging.

Fourth, Grimmond is writing with an emphasis on Biblical theology.  He is, therefore, sensitive to the different ways that the Old Testament and New Testament treat suffering.  What we are to make of these differences?  I did not agree with him in every instance, but his engagement is to be applauded.  You will be spiritually richer for it.

What did I disagree with?    Grimmond emphasizes Hebrews and 1st Peter as books that are helpful to address general suffering.  On the other hand, he emphasizes that Romans 8:28 is primarily about God working in persecution.  I find these emphases a bit arbitrary.  Hebrews and 1st Peter are explicitly addressing issues of persecution.  Paul deals with fallen creation in Romans 8, and the pastoral purpose of the letter is arguably much larger than persecution.   But--and this is important--it is a wonderful thing to find such a readable and helpful little book that takes sufferers to this level of depth in Scripture.  You may agree 100% with Grimmond, so buy the book and have a go at it.

I had high hopes for this book because it was coming from Matthias Media.  I was not disappointed.   It is now the first book that I recommend on suffering.