Why is this happening to me?
Where is God?
What is he doing?
What does faith look like?
How does the Lord show up?
Why is the journey so tumultuous?
David Powlison brings up these questions in the beginning of the book, which I'm sure everyone has thought these question before at one point in their lives. David Powlison starts the book out with a powerful and hard hitting introduction. Using the classic hymn, "How Firm a Foundation," Powlison pulls out the biblical truths that are used in the hymns and breaks it down stanza by stanza showing various accounts of affliction people go through in the Bible, how they respond, and more importantly, God's role in it.
The central concern of the book, as Powlison states, is "When you face trouble, loss, disability, pain, how does the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ meet you and comfort you? How does grace and goodness find you, touch you, work with you, and walk with you through deep water?" The purpose for the book, says Powlison, is "to anchor your experience more deeply in God's goodness." This book does just that. Powlison wants his readers to put their sufferings up against the Word of God and have them experience His grace through their sufferings.
This book is an appropriate book to walk through with someone you know is suffering. This book is also a good one to read alone to reflect. At the end of each chapter, there is a section called "Make it personal" where Powlison asks more in-depth questions about the chapter you just read. It would benefit you greatly if you took the time to answer those questions. Powlisondefinitely wants you to interact within the pages of the book, so don't be afraid to mark this book up! It is encouraged.
Suffering is a very personal, sensitive experience. Physical ailments, mental health issues, grieving over a lost one, "God's Grace in Your Suffering" gives you the freedom to make this journey of reading it as personal as possible. A lot of emotions might come up while reading this, but that's okay. When you answer the questions in the book, you're bound to take a good hard look at yourself and your suffering. "Various trials" are inevitable in life. Christianity isn't a breeze. God doesn't promise you an easy life. What He does promise you is that He will be there in the midst of your suffering. "A sufferers primal need is to hear God talking and to experience him purposefully at work. When you hear, take to heart, and know that he is with you, everything changes, even when nothing has changed in your situation."
My prayer is that your perspective on suffering will change through reading this book. That you will understand God's perspective and purpose on suffering. This book is vital for the Christian, because suffering is inevitable. Powlison invites his readers into his world and how God worked through his suffering. By doing that, he encourages his readers that they don't have to walk through suffering alone. I very much enjoyed this read.