You wouldn’t want someone to hand you this book, because it probably means you’re enduring hardship and suffering. But you need to read this book, preferably before the hardship and suffering inevitably comes.
We in the West somehow think if we’re lucky we’ll avoid the pain we see around us. So we cross our fingers and hope for the best. Of course no one can avoid death and aging, but we put off such thoughts until absolutely necessary and sometimes not until it’s too late.
Tim Keller’s new book, Walking with God through Pain and Suffering, forces us to confront life as it really is and not as our Western fairy tales suggest. The first part of the book considers the problem of evil, the way various cultures handle suffering, why Christianity prevailed in the Roman world, and the inability of secular views to give purpose to life. The second part digs deeper into Christian theology to explore various kinds of suffering in light of the sovereignty and suffering of God. And the final section helps believers walk, weep, trust, pray, think, thank, love, and hope through trials.
I talked with Keller, vice president of The Gospel Coalition, about the inspiring stories interspersed through the book, Dostoevsky’s answer to the problem of evil, the need to train our minds with the gospel to prepare for suffering, and much more.