The eight stories of this book reveal how ordinary Christians have allowed pain not only to mold their character but also to open up new ministry opportunities. Though the stories do not seek to explain the why of suffering, they present creative ways that God redeems suffering both in the life of the individual and in the Christian community.
The authors are transparent with their struggles and honest in their questions, yet they have not lost sight of Christ and His purpose for their lives. Though the natural reaction to suffering is anger, confusion, and feelings of alienation from God, the eventual end is redemption.
This book challenges readers to develop a richer sense of God’s sustaining grace in the midst of suffering and confusion, resulting in compassionate ministries with those who are in the trenches of their own pain. Along with the personal stories, this book includes discussion questions and suggested resources at the end of each chapter.
“Redemptive suffering illustrates that the believer’s suffering should be viewed as an unparalleled opportunity to witness to God’s goodness, justice, grace, and love to a world that is both believing and nonbelieving. I would suggest that God is on mission through the lives of all who ‘suffer for His sake,’ because ‘it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure’ (Phil. 2:13).” (Page 4)
“To be sure, there is no deficiency in the work of Christ on the cross for our salvation. Rather, ‘filling up what is lacking’ refers to the ongoing suffering of believers who exemplify Christ in and through that suffering for the sake of moving forward the mission of God and His gospel.” (Page 4)
“Even so, suffering may be viewed as undeserved in the sense of being incompatible with preconceived or logical reasons for it; it may therefore appear unfair or unjust.” (Page x)
“Physical suffering is a major area of spiritual attack.” (Page 15)
“paradoxically, I immediately felt God’s love for me. I knew that somehow this accident was from His hand and for my good” (Page 27)
Larry J. Waters (Ph.D., Dallas Theological Seminary) is Professor of Bible Exposition and Lead Editor of Bibliotheca Sacra, the academic journal for Dallas Theological Seminary. Before joining the faculty of Dallas Seminary he and his wife, Mary, served as missionaries in the Philippines from 1973 to 1999. His worldwide ministry continues, primarily in the Philippines with Biblical Education by Extension World Missions.