We need encouragement and hope when we are hurting. Dickerson reminds us that the only hope that is real and meaningful is from God. “God's strength best invades our lives through our weaknesses and pain.”
We have all kinds of questions when we suffer. Why am I suffering? Why haven't I been healed? Is God mad at me? Dickerson answers these kinds of questions as he helps us put suffering into an eternal perspective.
Dickerson writes from his own experience. He has hemiplegic migraines. They have debilitating stroke like symptoms. A few times a year he looses his ability to form words and to even think. It's his thorn in the flesh.
He shares how he is daily discovering the comfort of God's presence. He is convinced God is repurposing our temporary pains for our eternal good. We must push ourselves to trust God. There is an inner rest and strength that comes from that relationship with God. “The secret of finding joy, peace, and contentment has nothing to do with your circumstances and everything to do with Christ's strength.”
Dickerson has done an excellent job of helping us understand why there is suffering in the world. He shows that we can have peace and contentment that rise above our circumstances. He has great illustrations, stories of people and from the Bible, to support his teaching.
The message came through clearly that peace and contentment in our circumstances is not something instant. It requires our spiritual growth and is a skill we must learn. Here is how Dickerson describes ultimate spiritual adulthood: “When we really trust God the Father so much more than we trust ourselves. … When we really want His desires more than our desires.”
This is the most honest and realistic book I have read on suffering in a long time. He doesn't promise relief from suffering. He still suffers. But he has learned that God wants to give power and strength through that suffering. That's the truth he has for us too.
I highly recommend this book for anyone who is hurting. You'll read of people who have risen above their pain through Christ's strength. You'll begin to understand what God is doing in your pain and what it means to surrender to His plan. You'll be encouraged by the example of Jesus and His suffering.
It would be a good book to give to someone who is hurting. Perhaps you don't know what to say or how to encourage. This book would be a great help.
Food for thought:
“Your greatest contribution in life may result from your greatest pain or weakness, surrendered.”
Find out more at www.IamStrongBook.com, where you can download a free chapter.
My rating: 5/5 stars.
John S. Dickerson has written for The New York Times, USA Today, CNN and others. His previous book, The Great Evangelical Recession, assessed the health of the church in the United States. He has earned dozens of honors for his writing. He serves as the Teaching Pastor in Residence at Venture Christian Church in Los Gatos, California. He lives in Silicon Valley with his wife and children. You can find out more at www.JohnSDickerson.com.
Zondervan, 224 pages.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.