David Powlison’s newest book, God’s Grace in Your Suffering, helps us see the presence of God in the midst of our suffering. Most often, when we suffer in our Christian pilgrimage on earth, we see it as a punishment, rather than a measure of God’s grace. Powlison challenges that mindset biblically, faithfully, and gently.
HOW FIRM A FOUNDATION
Powlison drops his anchor in the timeless hymn by an unknown fellow pilgrim, How Firm a Foundation. He walks through every stanza of the hymn and points readers to the biblical truth on which the lyrics are rooted. He beautifully points to Christ in the midst of all suffering and encourages readers to look to the enduring presence of our Lord while we are suffering, rather than only searching for the escape hatch.
With Christ as our foundation, nothing we face is too much. With Christ as our example, all our suffering pales in comparison to His. With Christ as our intercessor, no suffering is without purpose or help from the Almighty.
Powlison gets a little meddlesome in that he asks us to deeply and biblically examine the suffering we are currently facing. He encourages the reader to be specific rather than vague so that they can learn to faithfully apply the truths of Scripture to their suffering souls. As always with Powlison, he is practical, compassionate, and skilled – like a well-seasoned surgeon performing his thousandth surgery. Powlison has the ability to bring the Gospel to bear in such a clear way that it is utterly impossible to see the connections and apply them to your own pain.
What I love most about how Powlison handles the presence of pain in the midst of our suffering is that he gives us permission to feel pain and sadness. We often swing into stoicism by misapplying God’s sovereignty.
“God is God. His reign is high and purposeful, yet reaches down into the details. But we often misapply God’s sovereignty when it comes to actually helping sufferers — both ourselves and others. One common misapplication is to say, “God is in control, therefore what’s happening to us is his will. You need to just trust the Lord and accept it. Ignore your feelings. Remember the truth. Gird your loins. Get with the program.” Stoic conclusions are fashioned from a most unstoic truth about a most unstoic God! In the Bible, God is fiercely committed to his children’s good. Part of that good is learning to be honest the way the Psalms are honest.”
— DAVID POWLISON
Through this book, Powlison teaches how to be honest about your heartache and sorrow while learning to trust God’s sovereignty. The two – emotions and faith – are not mutually exclusive. As conservative Christians, this is a concept we need to understand better in order to have compassion like our Savior.
If you wish to learn to suffer well, to glorify God in your suffering, and to be honest about the difficulty and pain of it, God’s Grace in Your Suffering will help you. If you are a biblical counselor, pastor, or other people helper of some sort, this book is a wonderful resource to add to your library. Enjoy!
I received a free copy of this book from Crossway Publishing in exchange for an honest review.