My review at The Gospel Coalition:
Suffering is one of those subjects we—especially Christians in North America—have a hard time dealing with honestly.
Sometimes our view of suffering better lines up with notions of karma—if bad things happen, obviously we’ve done something to deserve them. We moralize suffering, pile guilt and shame on those experiencing it, and view God more like a cosmic tyrant than a loving Father.
Other times, we see suffering as a means to an end, something to get through as quickly as possible so we can get to the big lesson and character change God has in store for us. We minimize suffering, centralize personal development, and treat God as our life coach.
But the problem with both of these attitudes is that neither really captures the biblical essence of the purpose of suffering.
Tullian Tchividjian, pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, argues that we’re often asking the wrong question when it comes to suffering. Rather than asking why suffering happens or how God will use it, Tchividjian suggests it may be better to ask who is with us amid our trials. Glorious Ruin unpacks this fundamental question—“the only [one] God has seen fit to answer, concretely, in the person and work of Jesus Christ” (25).
Keep reading at The Gospel Coalition.