Since we’ve talked quite a bit about suffering from a Christian perspective, I thought I would take the time to explore other faith-based authors who talk about their own suffering from a Christian perspective, so I compiled together several Christian books on suffering.
First on the list of Christian Books on Suffering: Daring to Hope by Katie Davis Majors
Katie Davis Majors awed many with her New York Times Bestselling book, Kisses from Katie which details her life as a normal teen girl relinquishing her creature comforts stateside for the third-world life in Uganda and adopting thirteen children as her own. And yes, I said thirteen children.
The newest story of hers, Daring to Hope: Finding God’s Goodness in the Broken and the Beautiful, picks up her story in the midst of suffering. Questions arise in Katie’s mind like, is God really good? When life is snuffed from a young friend and your child is taken from your arms and transplanted into a new home, what does this say about God? Did God miss the fervent prayers for life’s extension and a forever home for her daughter? Wouldn’t answering these prayers with a seemingly more favorable outcome glorify God more?
Here’s some of my favorite takeaways:
“Could we believe that God, who brought Jesus out of the black of the tomb and green shoots out of the hard earth will bring beauty out of our barren seasons?”
“We can say with Habakkuk that we will rejoice not because we enjoy the barrenness and the brokenness, but because God will be our strength.”
“[God] was teaching me that death is not the end. The end was when He rose from a tomb. I had asked for life, and life is what He gave. Better, glorious, eternal life.”
It’s Okay Not to Be Okay by Sheila Walsh
My second book on the list of Christian Books on Suffering is Sheila Walsh’s It’s Okay Not to Be Okay. Sheila tells her story of mental health struggles that led her to a psych hospital as well as inserting helpful stories from the Bible like that of Joseph in the Old Testament with his brothers. I love how Sheila tries to pull us into the story by getting us to see what it would feel like to be in Joseph’s shoes and imagining what it would be like to feel like someone else hijacked God’s intended plans.
Sheila’s claim is not self-help, but rather, God-help as she explores the following to point us through victory in Christ:
1. take the first step,
2. admit that you’re stuck and struggling,
3. change the way you think,
4. face the what-ifs, even if you’re afraid,
5. let go of what you can’t control,
6. rise above disappointment,
7. celebrate your scars as tattoos of triumph,
8. decide to start again.
Some of my favorite things Sheila’s says:
“There are moments in life when there is nothing you can do to control what’s happening. In those times, find your hiding place under the shelter of God’s wings.”
“We’re not supposed to have enough. We’re supposed to bring what we have, our clearly not enough, to Jesus and ask Him to meet us where we are.”
“If Christ had chosen to live eternally with His scars, why would I be ashamed to show mine?”
When God’s Ways Make No Sense by Dr. Larry Crabb
Dr. Larry Crabb explores a confusing premise we’ve all faced. If God is in control, why does life turn out so topsy-turvy? Dr. Larry Crabb uses Biblical examples, his experience as a licensed psychologist, as well as his own personal life stories to try to reconcile the problem of suffering with a good God who is also in control in his book When God’s Ways Make No Sense.
So what do we do when God’s ways make no sense?
Resist and Run thinking we know better? (Like Jonah)
Distort and Deny saying we can make it better? (Like Saul who became Paul did by initially abiding in a counterfeit gospel)
Tremble and Trust? (Like Habbakuk)
Some notable quotes:
Will we resist and run like Jonah searching for a better life than what God provides?
As we tremble in the presence of a God who makes no sense in our small minds, the questions we ask do something good in us.
We received these books for free in exchange for honest feedback.
Can you think of other books with a focus on suffering that have helped you personally? Any books that made you angry? (I talk about my expereince with a book like that here.)
Hope is always an option,