Saturday, March 30, 2019

Suffering Is Never for Nothing: Book Review

I am thrilled to welcome back my wife, Caitlin Neace, as a guest blogger to Biblical Perspicacity.

A special thanks to LifeWay for sending me a complimentary copy of Elisabeth Elliot’s book, Suffering is Never for Nothing.

Before continuing in this book review, you may be wondering how Elisabeth Elliot could possibly be releasing a new book as she’s been with the Lord for nearly four years. I know that question flitted through my mind. This book is actually a slight adaption of a CD series she had recorded years past.

How do you define suffering? In her book, Suffering is Never for Nothing, Elisabeth gives the following definition of suffering, “Suffering is having what you don’t want or wanting what you don’t have.” This definition really resonated with me because, often times, I feel as if we compare our trials. I recently read a quote on Facebook that, paraphrased loosely, said something along the lines of someone who drowns in two feet of water is just as dead as someone who drowns in twenty feet of water and they are just as dead as someone who drowns in the bottomless ocean. The point of the quote was that this is not a competition; we as believers should seek to support one another through life’s trials. Everyone has a story, and everyone has struggles. What may not seem overwhelming to you, may appear to be an insurmountable mountain to another who needs your support. Similarly, even if we have not experienced the same trauma or struggles as another, we can still come alongside and empathize with them. Elizabeth wrote in her book, “There have been some hard things in my life, of course, as there have been in yours, and I cannot say to you, I know exactly what you’re going through. But I can say that I know the One who knows. And I’ve come to see that it’s through the deepest suffering that God has taught me the deepest lessons.”

I highly recommend this little book – short enough to be read in one afternoon but deep enough to ponder for a long time after. Just six chapters spanning a little over one hundred pages are filled with reminders of God’s character and sovereignty and how He uses trials in our lives to make us more like Himself and to bring Him glory. I’ll conclude with a quote she gave by Janet Erskine Stuart when she said, “Joy is not the absence of suffering but the presence of God.” May we never forget the Lord no matter what life brings.