Another book on suffering?
It’s so easy to write off books on this subject, especially when so many are already in print (both good and bad). But Torn to Heal: God’s Good Purpose in Suffering isn’t one to ignore.
While our culture does its best to insulate us from pain and suffering, God wants us to embrace it for his glory. Mike Leake gets that and in this book, he encourages us to face suffering not with stoic disinterest or dualistic defeatism, but with the redemptive purposes of Christ in view.
Over the last couple years I’ve gotten to know Mike thanks to the wonders of technology. He’s the associate pastor at the First Baptist Church of Jasper, Indiana, has two young kids, is pursuing his M.Div from Southern Seminary and writes a great blog at MikeLeake.net.
Mike recently took a few minutes to answer some questions about the Torn to Heal, why he wrote it and how he hopes it will be a help to readers.
And keep reading to see how you can win a copy of this terrific new book.
1. What made you want to write a book on suffering?
In one sense I’ve been writing this book for years. As I’ve battled my own periods of darkness, developing a theology of suffering has been a necessity. I’ve also witnessed the truth of 2 Corinthians 1:4 first hand. As the Lord has brought comfort and healing to me I have been able to point others to the same fountain that has given life to me. On the other hand, I’ve also witnessed believers get slaughtered by unhealthy views of suffering. I believe John Piper is correct “wimpy Christians will not survive the days to come”. A robust theology of suffering is necessary.
2. Do we really need another book on suffering? What makes this one unique?
As I mentioned above I believe a sound theology of suffering is needed for everyday believers. The best book that I have read on suffering is How Long O Lord? by D.A. Carson. It’s a superb treatment of the topic of suffering. Yet if I’m being honest most people in my congregation would feel overwhelmed reading it. My hope is that Torn to Heal will give the same robust theology of suffering but in a more accessible manner.
3. In the book, you suggest that most of us view suffering from the perspective of dualism or stoicism. How does the way we view suffering affect how we approach trial?
If you view suffering from the perspective of a dualist you will avoid suffering at all cost. Yet if it’s true that this is one of the primary means that the Lord uses to bring us into conformity with Christ, we will be fighting against God’s good purpose for our lives. Viewing suffering as a stoic requires closing off sections of our hearts. A refusal to be real with suffering is often a refusal to really “let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts.” It’s a foolish denial.
The same gospel that brings healing and comfort also, by necessity, brings tearing and eventual death to our fallen inclinations. To either run from this (dualism) or deny this (stoicism) will hinder our growth in Jesus.
4. A mutual friend has said he can only write something he’s lived. As you were writing this book, how did you find God applying the truths you were laying out?
Though there might be seasons where it is less intense, suffering is the lot of those living outside of a fully redeemed Eden. As such there is never a time when these truths cannot be applied. For me specifically there are wounds from my past that the Lord is calling me to radically trust Him in. Wounds which require opening up (which means not being a stoic) and wounds which must be viewed from the perspective of eternity.
5. How do you hope your book is going to benefit readers?
My goal for the book is that it would help believers develop a healthy view of suffering and then not be surprised when we have to use it. Someone asked me awhile back if this would be a book that you could hand to someone that was in the furnace of suffering. That kind of depends. If it’s a season of very intense (Job-like) suffering then the last thing people need is a book. They need presence; your presence and chiefly the presence of the Almighty.
Yet at the same time I believe this book can be immensely helpful to those suffering. I believe it was Dr. Schreiner who has said the greatest weapon in suffering is good theology… or something like that. I pray that this book equips people to trust His hand as we endure various trials. I pray that the Lord uses it to give hope to those that feel hopeless. And more than anything I pray that the Lord is honored and glorified.
In partnership with Cruciform Press, this week I’m giving away five copies of Torn to Heal. To enter to win a copy, use the handy-dandy PunchTab app and answer the following question in the comments:
How have you seen God at work in your life through trial and suffering?
This giveaway ends Friday at midnight.