This is the story of Christ’s nearness to my own suffering—my mental breakdown, my journey to the psych ward, my long, slow, painful recovery—and how Christ will use even our agony and despair to turn us into servants and guests of the mercy offered in his gospel.
We cannot answer suffering. And yet suffering demands an answer. If Jesus is the answer to suffering, what kind of answer is Jesus? Everything that could be taken from a person was taken from him. The worst things a person could be made to see and feel were seen and felt by Christ.
All of this came to a point in the nails driven into his hands and became a word that cannot be unspoken—his body broken and his blood poured out for us. Suffering has been made holy by Christ’s proximity to it.
While the faithful will appreciate Bryant’s efforts to explore a nuanced relationship between mental illness and faith, what stands out the most are his painfully visceral descriptions of mental suffering … rendered with an unsparing honesty that jumps off the page.
—Publishers Weekly Starred Review
This is a stunning book, so rare and so beautiful. I cannot recommend it highly enough. John Bryant does two things that are very hard to do at the same time. He represents the raw agony and disorientation of healing from OCD. And he puts this struggle within a hopeful theological frame. I cried a lot during this book. It will encourage those who suffer and help others to understand the struggle. The book is honest, vulnerable, gripping, and hopeful at the same time. Read this book.
—Matthew A. LaPine, director of Christian education at Citylight Church in Omaha, NE; author of The Logic of the Body
John Bryant has chosen to be both fully transparent about his struggles with mental illness and also address the challenges theologically in a way that is utterly transparent, in the open for all to see and with a sensitivity that will encourage all who read A Quiet Mind to Suffer With. This book will make you weep, enlarge your empathy, and, Lord willing, instill a compassion in you for the mentally ill. Please do not merely read this text but understand it as an invitation into the wounds of Christ that gives meaning to all suffering.
—Greg Peters, Biola University and Nashotah House Theological Seminary; author of Monkhood of All Believers
Our lives are not tidy nor are our personal stories always a cheery ‘upward and onward’ narrative. Instead, we often face deep valleys with frightening darkness and endless unknowns. John A. Bryant’s book is not ‘tidy’ either, but because of his experience with and honesty about mental illness and trauma, we can learn from him; more importantly, because he points us to Christ crucified, we have more than a story, we have hope.
—Kelly M. Kapic, author of You’re Only Human and Embodied Hope
This book is oxygen for those desperate for air. John’s ability to share his own pain and trauma in a way that reveals the Savior who bears our trauma is a much-needed witness for Christians who suffer in silence.
—Caleb Musselman, pastor of Soma Church, Beaver Falls, PA
John Andrew Bryant is a caregiver, writer, and part-time street pastor in a small steel town outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he lives with his wife, Becca.