Marsha left a comment on Monday’s post saying,
“Can you recommend some Bible passage and/or books that would give me a foundation on glorifying Him in the midst of suffering? I am having a difficult time with the question who is the author of suffering, etc.
Thank you for your blog which makes me want to dig deeper.”
Marsha is not the only one struggling with these questions; when afflictions come to our lives, if we are not well grounded in the Word of God, our faith trembles and many times it falls, like a fine piece of China, into thousand pieces to the ground.
I was never taught about afflictions in the Church I grew up. For 20 years I only heard from the pulpit about the joyous, peaceful, and victorious life that we should be enjoying as children of the King. I heard all these years how we should confess to receive, and bind and loose; and claim promises and fight for them. How far I was from the teachings of the Word of God! But God had mercy on me and my family; and he opened our eyes to see and our ears to hear, and 9 years ago we started to really learn what the Bible teaches in many areas including suffering and affliction.
Our Father knew what was ahead of us. Last July we experienced the hardest trial ever, the loss of my sister’s precious baby girl, an infant. The suffering and affliction has been hard to bear, but many years before this event, God starting preparing our hearts to endure the fire that tests our hearts, as we learned to abide daily in His Word, as we grew in prayer, and as we studied about the purpose of why affliction and suffering come to the lives of the Children of God.
So Marsha, you are not alone; and even though I don’t you, nor your trials or afflictions, I pray God will give you a humble heart to receive from Him, not only the sweet providences, but also the bitter ones, knowing that even those proceed from a loving God.
Here are some good books and articles that have been helpful to me and my family; hope you find this list helpful.
How Long, O Lord?: Reflections on Suffering and Evil by D.A. Carson
Surprised by Suffering: The Role of Pain and Death in the Christian Life by R.C. Sproul
Suffering and the Sovereignty of God by John Piper and some friends
Facing Grief by John Flavel (1627-91)
A Place for Weakness by Michael Horton
Help Heavenward by Octavius Winslow
Grieving, Hope and Solace: When a Loved One Dies in Christ by Albert N. Martin
Does Grace Grows Best in Winter by Dr. Ligon Duncan
A Word in Season to Suffering Saints by Thomas Brooks (1675) (ebook)
Voices from the Past: Puritan Devotional Readings
The Faithful Endurance of Suffering
Suffering Saints by Arthur Pink
In Affliction Look to Jesus by Winslow
Trisha wrote this, words that pierce and bring grace.
Rebecca Writes wrote this post today with some important links that deal with our suffering.
In this Blog:
Seeing God’s Hand in Our Affliction
Preparing Our Hearts for Affliction
Doctrines in Action -Beyond the Kitchen-
Learning to Count Trials a Joy
Trial a Help Heavenward (on Chapter 5 of Winslow’s Book)
“We also rejoice in our afflictions, because
we know that affliction produces endurance,
endurance produces proven character, and
proven character produces hope.”
“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will glory all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak–then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
May the Lord of all comforts be your Hidding Place today,
Marsha, I am so glad you came back!
May His grace be all sufficient to you today!
Thank you so much for the response. I am humbled by how the Lord has answered me through you. And you post gives me hope as to the Lord showing me the truth. I have been and still am surrounded by the type of church you spoke of attending for 20 years. Again, thank you for being obedient to the Lord.
Thank you for your input and for adding that book to the list; yes it is a very good one.
Trisha, Persis, Hollie, Emily, once again, I give thanks for your each one of you. You truly bless me on this journey.
I appreciate this post, this type of teaching is missing from many of our churches today. God never said we would have our best life here, this is a fallen world. I was in a church much like you described for many years, how unprepared I would have been had I still been there when we went through our own deep waters. Thankfully God prepared us ahead of time by leading us to a different church where the teaching is much different
Might I recommend another book that has been a great help to me Trusting God Even When Life Hurts by Jerry Bridges
Again wonderful post
Thanks, Becky. It's important to have a theology of suffering because we will suffer if we're His. Thanks for listing these resources.
Such wise words, Becky. I had never been through any kind of real affliction until recently. And I am so thankful the Lord saw fit to prepare me just a couple weeks before my friends deaths by having Dr. Joel Beeke give such amazing sermons on how to Christianly respond to providential affliction at our church. They were truly some of the best teachings I had ever heard. If anyone is interested in the link I'd be happy to share it!
Thank you, Becky. I love you!
Becky,you hit the nail on the head! Nothing gets my blood up like Christians believing and acting in the Word of Faith rubbish. The theology is so popular here that one can see it in any church or denomination. I feel like it's so performance oriented (and I include the verbal in the performance) that I feel it keeps people from being real before God and each other, and therefore it truncates any true growth. Though I agree with many Reformed bloggers that vulnerability and over-sharing has been taken too far among evangelicals, I worry that the other extreme of never admitting our humanity is just as dangerous. Suffering is a fact for His people. It is for our good, and He is faithful even when we are not. Great post! God bless!