I can say many good things about David Powlinson’s latest release from Crossway, God’s Grace in Your Suffering. This book is the right length; it is the right tone; it is even the right mix of theory and practice. However the highest praise that I can offer is simply this: Dr. Powlinson’s book is not cliche or reductionistic. The author wrestles through the difficulty of suffering without denying its mystery. In fact, one of my favorite quotes from the book deals with this theme and is worth sharing in its entirety:
We take God’s hard answer and make it sound like a pat answer. He sets about a long slow answering, but we’re after a quick fix. His answer insists on being lived out over time and into the particulars. We act as if just saying the right words makes it so. God’s answer involves changing you into a different kind of person. But we act as if some truth, principle, strategy, or perspective might simply be incorporated into who we already are. God personalizes his answer on hearts with an uncanny flexibility. But we turn it into a formula: “If you just believe x. If you just do y. If you just remember z.” No important truth ever contains the word “just” in the punch line.
God’s Grace in Your Suffering aims high. The author writes: “The purpose of this book is to anchor your experience more deeply in God’s goodness. Suffering reveals the genuineness of faith in Christ. And suffering produces genuine faith” (Intro). Thankfully, Powlinson hits his mark. The result is a little book full of profound and practical insights for those who suffer and for those who help other people through their suffering.
*Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review purposes from the publisher.