“No matter what precautions we take, no matter how well we have put together a good life, no matter how hard we have worked to be healthy, wealthy, comfortable with friends and family, and successful with our career — something will inevitably ruin it.”Timothy Keller – Walking With God Through Pain And Suffering
Years ago, at our previous church, I lead a woman’s book club. This book was not on my radar until a church member’s husband committed suicide. He was a long-time member, and as you can imagine, we were all shocked to the core. Shortly after his death, I learned of “Walking With God Through Pain And Suffering” by Timothy Keller. We decided as a book club to read it together to help process our emotions. We were not disappointed.
“Walking With God Through Pain And Suffering” is divided into three main sections: Understanding The Furnance, Facing The Furnance, and Walking With God In The Furnace. Each section tackles the problem of suffering in a biblical, theological, and emotionally fulfilling way that helps point the reader’s eyes towards the cross.
If you are currently “facing the furnace,” Keller recommends you save the first section to the end. I completely agree. While it is interesting to see how different cultures and worldviews approach suffering, the first section feels like an empty water glass in the desert. I suggest jumping straight to Facing The Furnance that helps you understand evil in the world, the sovereignty of God in suffering, and how He remains faithful to us.
If your suffering has you feeling abandoned by God, I believe this book will help you overcome that. What I found most powerful was the stories and testimonies of people who faced tragedy yet came out loving God more. Sometimes hearing the same Biblical accounts of suffering, as Keller leans heavily on Job, can feel a bit trite. I am not saying God’s word is insufficient! But it is helpful to hear from modern-day people you can feel a connection to through the pages. Some stories made me weep.
“Walking With God Through Pain And Suffering” helps readers to do just that. See God’s love and care in the worst of situations and help them to continue to walk with him through the furnace.
“Suffering is unbearable if you aren’t certain that God is for you and with you.”Timothy Keller