Saturday, October 30, 2010

Night of Weeping

D.A. Carson's 'How Long O Lord? Reflections on Suffering and Evil' is an excellent theology of suffering (at least the chapters I've read are). But in his introductory remarks Carson refers to his book as a preparation for suffering, rather than a book to read while in acute suffering. In other words, 'How Long O Lord?' is meant to give Christians the theological underlay to respond to future suffering with a Biblical world view in tact. But it is not so much a soothing book for the present sufferer.

Horatius Bonar's 'Night of Weeping: When God's Children Suffer' is both. It is a theology of suffering and it is also a book to sooth those who are presently suffering. When a friend of mine was sick and unable to get out of bed for an entire year, this was the only book, aside from the Bible, he read and it gave him hope to carry on. I've heard story after story of such comfort from this little book. Bonar speaks specifically to Christians who suffer and he offers 15 short chapters of Biblical comfort and encouragement to them. His pastoral heart and his Biblical wisdom are on full display in this excellent little book. Here is a favourite quote of mine:
"God cannot trust us with success till we are thus laid low. We are not fit to receive it; nor would He get the glory. Therefore He sends sore and heavy trials in order to make us vessels fit for the Master's use. And oftentimes we see that the heaviest trials are forerunners of our greatest usefulness. When we are entirely prostrated and crushed, then it is safe to grant us success, for God gets all the glory. And oh, what wonders has God often done by bruised reeds! Yea, it is the bruised reed that is oftenest the instrument in his hand for working His mighty signs and wonders. What consolation is this! Suffering is stripped of half its bitterness if it thus brings with it a double portion of the Spirit, and fits for double usefulness on earth" (pg, 149).
Canadians can find the book here.
Americans can buy it here.
Or, the Kindle edition is $0.99 here.

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