Joy in the Sorrow

Chronic illness, miscarriage, death, cancer, infertility, broken families, addiction. This earthly life is full of suffering, and this book is a soothing balm for a hurting soul. I don’t know that I really had a theology of suffering until I was forced to acknowledge its existence in my own life. As I read through each story in Joy in the Sorrow: How a Thriving Church (and Its Pastor) Learned to Suffer Well, each life marked by struggles and grief, I thought of so many lives that touch mine who are are experiencing these sorrows. Some are learning more about the goodness of God in what we would deem “not good” circumstances. Here are a couple of my favorite quotes from this deeply beautiful book.

“We think God waits for us on the other side of hard things, and we’re always looking for and celebrating the happy ending in this life. The stories we tell are usually finished stories. They have a bow on them. It’s a rare thing for us to tell the story, right in the middle of doubt and anger and fear and confusion.” {Joy in the Sorrow, page 22, Matt Chandler}

“When he writes pain into our stories, He also reveals himself as the main character. Sure, he’s been there all along in our joys and delights, but suffering is unique in its power to tune our souls to His presence.” {Joy in the Sorrow, page 34, Jeanne Damoff}

“We have tremendous friends, enjoy our work, and delight in our children. And yet, the most profound encounter we have ever had with the Lord came as a result of suffering. The thing I was desperate to escape was also my gateway to irrefutable joy.” {Joy in the Sorrow, page 82, Kyle Porter}

“Could God still be good and therefore do good by withholding one blessing (children) and in its place giving another, stranger and unsought, blessing (childlessness)?…The nearness of children or the promise of them were not my good. The nearness of God was my only good, and I was learning that however his nearness comes – in silence, in greatness, in provision, in lack, in fullness, or in meagerness – it is enough.” {Joy in the Sorrow, page 197, Lore Ferguson Wilbert}

I highly recommend this book and will be referring to it often. Let me know if you read it. I love book discussions!