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Summary Suffering often seems to catch us by surprise. One day we are healthy, comfortable, and happy. The next we find ourselves ill or injured, struggling, and distraught. The pain that invades our lives may come from our own suffering or that of a loved one. But no matter the source, we didn't see it coming. All too often, our perplexity prompts us to suspect God of Summary Suffering often seems to catch us by surprise. One day we are healthy, comfortable, and happy. The next we find ourselves ill or injured, struggling, and distraught. The pain that invades our lives may come from our own suffering or that of a loved one. But no matter the source, we didn't see it coming. All too often, our perplexity prompts us to suspect God of wrongdoing. In this classic book, republished in a revised and expanded edition, Dr. R. C. Sproul argues that we should not be surprised by suffering; instead, we should expect pain and sorrow in this life. Some are actually called to a "vocation" of suffering, and all of us are called to undergo the ultimate suffering of death. God promises in His Word that difficult times will come upon us, but He also promises that He allows suffering for our good and His glory, and He will never give us more than we can bear with His help. Dr. Sproul offers solid biblical counsel and comfort for those undergoing suffering and for those who minister to the suffering, counsel that helps believers stand in times of trial with faith in a God who is both loving and good. Chapters Suffering, Perplexity, and Despair Walking the Via Dolorosa A Case Study in Suffering Purpose in Suffering The Final Calling Dying in Faith Speculations on Life after Death Jesus and the Afterlife To Die Is Gain A Vision of Things to Come Conclusion Resources Appendix: Questions and Answers Index of Scripture Index of Subjects and Names


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Summary Suffering often seems to catch us by surprise. One day we are healthy, comfortable, and happy. The next we find ourselves ill or injured, struggling, and distraught. The pain that invades our lives may come from our own suffering or that of a loved one. But no matter the source, we didn't see it coming. All too often, our perplexity prompts us to suspect God of Summary Suffering often seems to catch us by surprise. One day we are healthy, comfortable, and happy. The next we find ourselves ill or injured, struggling, and distraught. The pain that invades our lives may come from our own suffering or that of a loved one. But no matter the source, we didn't see it coming. All too often, our perplexity prompts us to suspect God of wrongdoing. In this classic book, republished in a revised and expanded edition, Dr. R. C. Sproul argues that we should not be surprised by suffering; instead, we should expect pain and sorrow in this life. Some are actually called to a "vocation" of suffering, and all of us are called to undergo the ultimate suffering of death. God promises in His Word that difficult times will come upon us, but He also promises that He allows suffering for our good and His glory, and He will never give us more than we can bear with His help. Dr. Sproul offers solid biblical counsel and comfort for those undergoing suffering and for those who minister to the suffering, counsel that helps believers stand in times of trial with faith in a God who is both loving and good. Chapters Suffering, Perplexity, and Despair Walking the Via Dolorosa A Case Study in Suffering Purpose in Suffering The Final Calling Dying in Faith Speculations on Life after Death Jesus and the Afterlife To Die Is Gain A Vision of Things to Come Conclusion Resources Appendix: Questions and Answers Index of Scripture Index of Subjects and Names

30 review for Surprised by Suffering: The Role of Pain and Death in The Christian Life

  1. 4 out of 5

    Joseph

    It was okay. Good, not great. Nothing particularly problematic. A few times the exegesis was questionable, but generally it wasn't in regards to anything core. It felt like it had less to do with dealing with suffering and how a Christian should handle it, and more just about how Jesus is Lord and we are going to Heaven. The bulk of it is spent on discussing the resurrection (in detail), Heaven, eternal life, and stuff like that which is relevant to the topic of suffering, but largely secondary i It was okay. Good, not great. Nothing particularly problematic. A few times the exegesis was questionable, but generally it wasn't in regards to anything core. It felt like it had less to do with dealing with suffering and how a Christian should handle it, and more just about how Jesus is Lord and we are going to Heaven. The bulk of it is spent on discussing the resurrection (in detail), Heaven, eternal life, and stuff like that which is relevant to the topic of suffering, but largely secondary in discussions of it. It's good stuff, just not what I think a lot people would expect given the title. Nothing bad though. And the chapter on Heaven at the end is good (it basically looks at Revelation 21 and some of chapter 22, a few verses at a time). It was very okay. If you like R.C. Sproul, or you just want to read it, go ahead. You'll probably find some encouragement. It's good, but nothing really exceptional.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    Surprised by Suffering was a great read! I found myself saying "so true!" a lot while reading. I appreciated how even when the topic wasn't easy, Sproul still spoke the truth. Definitely recommend! Surprised by Suffering was a great read! I found myself saying "so true!" a lot while reading. I appreciated how even when the topic wasn't easy, Sproul still spoke the truth. Definitely recommend!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kofi Opoku

    RC Sproul discusses pain and death in a pastorally sensitive way, weaving in philosophical issues with regards to suffering, and arguing for the certainty of eternal life. The Q&A at the end of the book was particularly helpful.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Keiki Hendrix

    Is suffering a vocation, a calling from God? Is death a vocation? What is the purpose of our suffering? First published in 1988, Surprised by Suffering is a resource every Christian should read sometime in their lives. In this revised and expanded release, a new chapter on Sovereignty adds much to the original version. Having some friends experiencing a great deal of suffering, I read this book in attempt to find some wisdom to share with them. R. C. Sproul does not disappoint. His teaching in thi Is suffering a vocation, a calling from God? Is death a vocation? What is the purpose of our suffering? First published in 1988, Surprised by Suffering is a resource every Christian should read sometime in their lives. In this revised and expanded release, a new chapter on Sovereignty adds much to the original version. Having some friends experiencing a great deal of suffering, I read this book in attempt to find some wisdom to share with them. R. C. Sproul does not disappoint. His teaching in this book is very straight forward and addressing the issue of suffering in the life of a Christian exceptionally well. If you know anything of R. C. Sproul, you will know that he does not teach a pie-in-the-sky view of Christianity. What were my favorite parts and what new insights did I gain from reading this? He first addresses Karl Marx comment that ‘religion is the opiate of the masses’ – with this comment “There is no scandal in the mercy of God to the afflicted.” I just loved that. And to the ‘positive thinking’ preacher and their teaching, he says “The zealous person who promises us a life free from suffering has found his message from a source other than Scripture.” But what I was looking for in this book I found in this statement “It is when we view our suffering as meaningless – without purpose – that we are tempted to despair.“ The knowledge that suffering has a purpose is the focus of the entire book. The Q&A section at the end of the book was also interesting. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I recommend it highly. Reviewed by: Keiki Hendrix Reviewed for: The Vessel Project www.vesselproject.com

  5. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    Okay book, but not really about suffering. It's more about death and heaven. Good info, but not super deep. Okay book, but not really about suffering. It's more about death and heaven. Good info, but not super deep.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I keep hearing about, and seeing, books that imply(or directly state) that suffering in the life of a Christian is abnormal. Actually, suffering is one of the most normal things in the life of a Christian. That suffering may be physical(persecution, disease, handicap, etc...) or mental(caused by self-denial, struggles to keep focused, slaying of lusts..etc.), but it certainly isn't strange. Peter writes to the Churches, "Dear friends, do not be surprised by the fiery ordeal that is taking place I keep hearing about, and seeing, books that imply(or directly state) that suffering in the life of a Christian is abnormal. Actually, suffering is one of the most normal things in the life of a Christian. That suffering may be physical(persecution, disease, handicap, etc...) or mental(caused by self-denial, struggles to keep focused, slaying of lusts..etc.), but it certainly isn't strange. Peter writes to the Churches, "Dear friends, do not be surprised by the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. Instead, because you are participating in the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that you may be glad and shout for joy when his glory is revealed. "(1Pe 4:12-13 ISV) And thus the title of Sproul's book, 'Surprised by Suffering', in which he strives to take away the element of 'surprise' and points out that we should not be surprised by suffering, but rather, in that suffering, seek to focus ourselves on the God who sends it, see even suffering as a call from God, and to remember that this suffering is only momentary, our home is not in this sin laden world, but in Heaven. We don't expect to go to Heaven on "flowery beds of ease..", we don't expect, 'health, wealth and prosperity', we expect to submit to whatever the Father sends us, be it 'good' or 'ill'. Not that it is sin to ask God to take away our suffering, but as Sproul comments, "Jesus qualified His prayer: 'If it is Your will....' Jesus did not 'name it and claim it.'......I am astonished that, in light of the clear biblical record, anyone would have the audacity to suggest that it is wrong for the afflicted in body or soul to couch their prayers for deliverance in terms of 'If it be Thy will....' We are told that when affliction comes, God always wills healing, that He has nothing to do with suffering, and that all that we must do is claim the answer we seek by faith. We are exhorted to claim God's yes before He speaks it. Away with such distortions of biblical faith! They are conceived in the mind of the Tempter, who would seduce us into exchanging faith for magic. No amount of pious verbiage can transform such falsehood into sound doctrine. We must accept the fact that God sometimes says no. Sometimes He calls us to suffer and die even if we want to claim the contrary..." I wish that Sproul had focused a bit more on the Sanctification aspect of suffering, but overall, I liked his directing the focus to God, His Word and Will. Again, I liked that Sproul emphasizes that we ought to look on suffering and dying as being 'vocations' from God. We want to serve God well in these vocations, just as we want to serve God well in our jobs and relationships. This is a good book, directing the focus not to this world, but the next, and not on our desires, but on God's Word. Here is, perhaps my favorite quote from the book: "We are not doomed to an ultimate conflict with no hope of resolution. The message of scripture is one of victory- full, final, and ultimate victory. It is not our doom that is certain, but Satan's. His head has been crushed by the heel of Christ, who is the Alpha and Omega. Above all suffering and death stands the crucified and risen Lord. He has defeated the ultimate enemy of life. He has vanquished the power of death. He calls us to die, a call to obedience in the final transition of life. Because of Christ, death is not final. It is a passage from one world to the next. God does not always will healing. If He did, He would suffer endless frustration, seeing His will being repeatedly thwarted in the deaths of His people. He did not will the healing of Stephen from the wounds inflicted by the stones that were hurled against him. He did not will the healing of Moses, of Joseph, of David, of Paul, of Augustine, of Martin Luther, of John Calvin. These all died in faith. Ultimate healing comes through death and after death....Certainly God answers prayers and gives healings to our bodies during this life. But even those healings are temporary. Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. But Lazarus died again. Jesus gave sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf. Yet every person Jesus healed eventually died. They died not because Satan finally won over Jesus, but because Jesus called them to die. When God issues a call to us, it is always a holy call. The vocation of dying is a sacred vocation. To understand that is one of the most important lessons a Christian can ever learn. When the summons comes, we can respond in many ways. We can become angry, bitter or terrified. But if we see it as a call from God and not a threat from Satan, we are far more prepared to cope with its difficulties." Thanks to Ligonier Ministries who will be sending me a copy of this book in return for my review of the free pdf copy they sent me(the review does not have to be a favorable one).

  7. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    First sentence: Christians are those who have faith in Christ. We all aspire to possess a faith that is strong and enduring. The reality, however, is that faith is not a constant thing. Our faith wavers between moments of supreme exultation and trying times that push us to the rim of despair. Doubt flashes danger lights at us and threatens our peace. Rare is the saint who has a tranquil spirit in all seasons. Suffering is one of the most significant challenges to any believer's faith. When pain, First sentence: Christians are those who have faith in Christ. We all aspire to possess a faith that is strong and enduring. The reality, however, is that faith is not a constant thing. Our faith wavers between moments of supreme exultation and trying times that push us to the rim of despair. Doubt flashes danger lights at us and threatens our peace. Rare is the saint who has a tranquil spirit in all seasons. Suffering is one of the most significant challenges to any believer's faith. When pain, grief, persecution, or other forms of suffering strike, we find ourselves caught off guard, confused, and full of questions. Suffering can strain faith to the limits. Premise/plot: R.C. Sproul argues that Christians should not be surprised by suffering (pain, suffering, sorrow, death) in this life. Instead, we should expect it. For not only is it following the path of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. It is a sign that we listened to his message, his words. The Word never promised a comfortable, easy life for his followers, his disciples. He never once hinted that his followers would be healthy or wealthy. He never once assured any believers that they'd be happy--happy as the world defines happy. If preachers are adding--or subtracting--to or from the Word of God to promise their listeners, their congregations health, wealth, and prosperity--they are essentially false teachers. Roughly half of the book focuses on pain and suffering. The other half focuses on dying, death, and the afterlife. Sproul addresses the issue of heaven and hell, and how you can know where you'll spend eternity. Table of contents: Suffering, Perplexity and Despair, Walking the Via Dolorosa A Case Study in Suffering Purpose in Suffering The Final Calling Dying in Faith Speculations on Life After Death Jesus and the Afterlife To Die Is Gain A Vision of Things to Come Conclusion My thoughts: I really LOVED this one. The older I get, the more I embrace books on the subject of pain and suffering….especially well-written ones that treasure the doctrine of God's Sovereignty. Nothing is more frustrating that coming across a book on pain and suffering and hearing that it is all your fault for not having enough faith. That there is power in your words--have faith in the power of your words, have faith in the power of your faith. Or even so gross an error that if Christians had enough faith they would not die. This book is first and foremost biblical. It does not promise readers anything outside what the Scripture promises. It is not thinking: what do people want to hear, what do people want to believe--instead it is thinking: what does the Word of God actually SAY. And of course, while false teachers also lean against the Word of God saying, "the Bible says…" the key is always, always, always in the CONTEXT. As my mom's grandma used to say, You can prove absolutely ANYTHING with enough dot, dot, dots. (Sproul never uses dot, dot, dots to make his points.)

  8. 5 out of 5

    Shawn

    “Come, My beloved, inherit the kingdom which has been prepared for you from the beginning of time.” “It is this promise that verifies the apostolic comparison that the afflictions we endure in this life are not even worthy to be compared with the glory God has stored up for us in heaven (Rom. 8:18). It is by this promise, sealed by divine oath, that we know our suffering is never, never, never in vain.” Amen!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    Surprised by Suffering was a surprisingly interesting and easy to read book. So many times, at least in my experience, books like this can be dry and dull...but not this one. I fully enjoyed reading it and believe it's one I'll be rereading. Completely recommend this book. Surprised by Suffering was a surprisingly interesting and easy to read book. So many times, at least in my experience, books like this can be dry and dull...but not this one. I fully enjoyed reading it and believe it's one I'll be rereading. Completely recommend this book.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Aaron

    When I first started showing signs of my neuro-degenerative disease, I spent a lot of time writing about my experience with suffering. I haven’t written anything on the topic for many years. Partly because life happens and time to sit down and write is costly. However, I’ve also come to believe that, though my thoughts at the time were sincere, they were a bit misguided. I allowed my experience with suffering to consume me and although I wouldn't have said it at the time, my theology of sufferin When I first started showing signs of my neuro-degenerative disease, I spent a lot of time writing about my experience with suffering. I haven’t written anything on the topic for many years. Partly because life happens and time to sit down and write is costly. However, I’ve also come to believe that, though my thoughts at the time were sincere, they were a bit misguided. I allowed my experience with suffering to consume me and although I wouldn't have said it at the time, my theology of suffering was very “me centered”. Enter R.C. Sproul’s book, Surprised by Suffering. Sproul writes with the wisdom that a lifetime in the pastorate produces. This book is invaluable. If you are suffering, it may not scratch that itch to go deep into the emotional struggles that you are experiencing, but it will assuredly anchor your soul in the profound hope that is ours in Christ. What I am trying to say is that as one who has been suffering for almost eight years now, I know that you are tempted do dive deep into the depths of your soul to try find yourself. I also know that you likely believe this is what you need. Eight years later I can say with confidence that this leads to some very dark places. Sproul clearly knows this and this is evident in how he directs our attention away from ourselves and to the only one in whom we can confidently hope. Surprised by Suffering takes you on an intellectual tour of the experience of suffering. Sproul starts with some helpful definitions and moves quickly into the idea that we should expect suffering, the reason for suffering and into the experience of death itself and what it is to die in faith. The really good part comes in the latter half of the book, which is dedicated to our hope of eternal life with Christ. This is what gives substance to our suffering. This is the difficult lesson which all who suffer must come to learn. In all of this, Sproul anchors our suffering to the sure and steadfast providence of God. This book is a gem and is now the first book I would recommend to anyone who is suffering. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book from the publisher as compensation for my review . I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

  11. 4 out of 5

    April McGowan

    Excellent insights into suffering from a biblical world view As someone who lives with suffering and chronic illness, this book is a balm. The Christian church, as a whole, is missing this message. For too many years Christianity has been sold and packaged as the answer to what ails us. Accept Christ, they say, and life will be perfect. Christ is, indeed, the answer, but the question isn't who will remove me from this situation and make life rosy again, but rather who will walk though this fire w Excellent insights into suffering from a biblical world view As someone who lives with suffering and chronic illness, this book is a balm. The Christian church, as a whole, is missing this message. For too many years Christianity has been sold and packaged as the answer to what ails us. Accept Christ, they say, and life will be perfect. Christ is, indeed, the answer, but the question isn't who will remove me from this situation and make life rosy again, but rather who will walk though this fire with me. The Father is not our private genie in a bottle, waiting for us to snap our fingers and He'll make our lives perfect in an instant. Rather, He will perfect US though our circumstances. If that means allowing illness or suffering into our lives in order to work our His perfect Will, then that's what He will do. Everyone, unless they are snatched from this world in an instant, will face hardship, injury, illness, suffering and eventually death. It doesn't mean He has abandoned us, or forsaken us. Rather He is waiting next to us, hand out and ready to carry us though. He's there. We are not alone.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Emerson

    This book has been on my bookshelf for the past few years. I can't remember exactly why I purchased the book but I do know that it is a book I have been putting off. I knew when I saw it last month on my shelf that I needed to read it. I am so thankful that I did. The past few months in my own life have been difficult. My family and I have been walking a difficult road as we wrestle with my daughter's chiari as well as other things which are beyond the scope of sharing. I have also had a heart t This book has been on my bookshelf for the past few years. I can't remember exactly why I purchased the book but I do know that it is a book I have been putting off. I knew when I saw it last month on my shelf that I needed to read it. I am so thankful that I did. The past few months in my own life have been difficult. My family and I have been walking a difficult road as we wrestle with my daughter's chiari as well as other things which are beyond the scope of sharing. I have also had a heart that has just ached as I have walked alongside a number of families in our church who are experiencing grief and heartache. This book has been a healing balm for my soul the past few weeks. I needed to be reminded that as Christians we should NOT be surprised when suffering comes our way. I was reminded in this book that "because of Christ our suffering is not useless." We really should expect sorrow and pain in this life. As believers we do not despair when the hard things in life come our way because we have redemption before us.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Elliott

    "It is better to be in the house of morning than in the house of feasting." Sproul takes a unwavering look into what the Bible has to teach about the topic of pain and death. The first half of the book focuses on examples of suffering in the Bible from the account of Job to Jesus, our suffering savior. The second half then transitions to the Biblical hints of what Heaven will be like. Before delving into these scriptures, he brings up the philosophical musing about life after death of famous ora "It is better to be in the house of morning than in the house of feasting." Sproul takes a unwavering look into what the Bible has to teach about the topic of pain and death. The first half of the book focuses on examples of suffering in the Bible from the account of Job to Jesus, our suffering savior. The second half then transitions to the Biblical hints of what Heaven will be like. Before delving into these scriptures, he brings up the philosophical musing about life after death of famous orators in ancient history. I especially appreciated this chapter as grounding the Biblical account.

  14. 5 out of 5

    William Kriner

    Outstanding. Sproul's treatment of the subject of suffering is Reformed and Biblical as well as winsome. He does not shrink from the difficulty of the subject and his examples from his life and others he has ministered to are beneficial. In a genre where there are syrupy platitudes or stoic alternatives presented, Sproul's approach is hopeful and worth the time of those who take seriously the need for a Christian response to suffering. Outstanding. Sproul's treatment of the subject of suffering is Reformed and Biblical as well as winsome. He does not shrink from the difficulty of the subject and his examples from his life and others he has ministered to are beneficial. In a genre where there are syrupy platitudes or stoic alternatives presented, Sproul's approach is hopeful and worth the time of those who take seriously the need for a Christian response to suffering.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Luís Alexandre Ribeiro Branco

    It is a great book, short, but with enough information to convey what it purposed to. Sproul has been always a fabulous theologian to understand. I would highlight the discussion on euthanasia as a very important subject that required more substantial material on this topic addressing it in a theological, philosophical and ethical perspective.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Patricia C Robbins

    Our God is Faithful God is great and awesome, worthy of our praise. Our present sufferings will never compare to the future glories that God will share with us. We need the Lord's discernment to see the world as it truly is. He is more than able to keep that which we have committed to Him. Go ahead, He will never forsake His own. Our God is Faithful God is great and awesome, worthy of our praise. Our present sufferings will never compare to the future glories that God will share with us. We need the Lord's discernment to see the world as it truly is. He is more than able to keep that which we have committed to Him. Go ahead, He will never forsake His own.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Young

    Great book Loved this book. Dr. Sproul is a great writer and he knows his subject matter very well. I highly recommend this book for those looking for meaning behind the hard parts of life.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lillie

    An excellent discussion of how suffering is part of every Christian life. Though none of us likes to suffer, it helps to understand that suffering has a purpose in God's plan for us. We are reminded of God's sovereignty and our eternal future. An excellent discussion of how suffering is part of every Christian life. Though none of us likes to suffer, it helps to understand that suffering has a purpose in God's plan for us. We are reminded of God's sovereignty and our eternal future.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Donna Burke

    Helpful words on suffering, death, and heaven. Especially encouraging for preparing to suffer well in a way that honors God.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    I honestly was surprised by this book! Answered many questions I had about death. I recommend this to EVERYONE!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Cindy

    Excellent as all his books are!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Albrecht

    HUGE letdown. This book barely scratches the surface of every single topic inside it. Feels almost steam-of-consciousness in the most shallow of thought about suffering. Was super bummed again and again - after I read an interesting idea, I’d hope he would dive deeper, but he just glossed right on to the next thing.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jeff McCormack

    Overall, a very pleasant book. Read it in hope of relieving some of my grief over the past 10 months. It helped a little. Had some good practical information. I kind of got bummed at chapter nine when he got off track, as is common in conservative and especially Reformed circles, from the proper Jewish view of death, and the intermediate state. He totally dropped the ball in calling the intermediate state (also called Paradise in the NT) as the presence of our souls in heaven awaiting the resurre Overall, a very pleasant book. Read it in hope of relieving some of my grief over the past 10 months. It helped a little. Had some good practical information. I kind of got bummed at chapter nine when he got off track, as is common in conservative and especially Reformed circles, from the proper Jewish view of death, and the intermediate state. He totally dropped the ball in calling the intermediate state (also called Paradise in the NT) as the presence of our souls in heaven awaiting the resurrection of our bodies. This was done, as is commonly the case, but mixing passages speaking of life after death BEFORE Jesus's resurrection, with life after death AFTER Jesus. His view, unfortunately the common modern view, is totally foreign to the Jewish understanding of Paradise/Sheol/Hades as the intermediate state prior to the death and resurrection of Christ, but I guess it is to be expected. It just all went downhill from here for me, as this view took him down many other common, though faulty paths dealing with life after death, etc. Still a decent book, with many points of comfort for someone wrestling with death, suffering and grief.

  24. 5 out of 5

    K

    I loved R.C. Sprouls' sermons of the same title but the book left me disappointed. Only a portion of the book dealt with suffering here on earth. The rest of the book dealt with what happens after we die and the promise of heaven. I have never found "the promise of heaven" to be much comfort in my times of great trial. It is so far off and heaven is such a mystery, it is hard to take comfort. The best part of the book, and his sermons, were dealing with the "vocation of suffering." We all suffer I loved R.C. Sprouls' sermons of the same title but the book left me disappointed. Only a portion of the book dealt with suffering here on earth. The rest of the book dealt with what happens after we die and the promise of heaven. I have never found "the promise of heaven" to be much comfort in my times of great trial. It is so far off and heaven is such a mystery, it is hard to take comfort. The best part of the book, and his sermons, were dealing with the "vocation of suffering." We all suffer, and we are able to endure our suffering because we know Christ suffered first. That gives me far more comfort than a nebulous explanation of heaven.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Rick Perez

    Theologically rich review and commentary on the themes of Suffering, Pain & Death...I remembered reading the book many years...Found it discounted on Amazon...I am glad I re-read it...Being older, having young adult children and having gone through some "valley" experiences in my life, the themes discussed in the book had a greater impact this time around. Although the topics discussed are "somber" realities and reminders of life, as a Believer I found the entire book very "encouraging" and very Theologically rich review and commentary on the themes of Suffering, Pain & Death...I remembered reading the book many years...Found it discounted on Amazon...I am glad I re-read it...Being older, having young adult children and having gone through some "valley" experiences in my life, the themes discussed in the book had a greater impact this time around. Although the topics discussed are "somber" realities and reminders of life, as a Believer I found the entire book very "encouraging" and very "hopeful." I am grateful for gifted authors like RC Sproul that give me confidence and encourage me with Scripture, as I continue in my life journey here on this planet.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mark A Powell

    Although Sproul addresses the issue of suffering, the focus of the book drifts more toward a consideration of death and the afterlife (a worthy topic, to be sure, but potentially misleading from the title). While his theology is sound, the moments where he relates his personal interactions with those who are suffering—as well as his own difficult times—jolt the reader from thinking this a merely academic exercise. A respectable, entry-level look at these themes.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Deanna

    My favorite chapter in this book was the one on Heaven; it's the last chapter. I appreciate RC Sproul's willingness to articulate his opinion on a given issue and then substantially support that opinion. I admire people who do that, even if I don't agree with their views. This book was a tad dry and long, but overall, a fair read. My favorite chapter in this book was the one on Heaven; it's the last chapter. I appreciate RC Sproul's willingness to articulate his opinion on a given issue and then substantially support that opinion. I admire people who do that, even if I don't agree with their views. This book was a tad dry and long, but overall, a fair read.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Regina Ripamonti

    A careful, biblical approach which deals with the role that suffering plays in the life of the Christian. Strong counter to the health-wealth-prosperity teaching that is so prevalent today. The second half of the book is about heaven and why we need to have our hearts set on eternity. I found this book very helpful.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Summers

    Clear, straightforward insight to why suffering enters our lives. It shakes away the notion that we should be exempt from such pain and reassures us that it is to be both expected and respected. Glad I read it. Pages are dog-eared for later reference when I need that reminder that this is normal and shall pass.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Richard

    I found this to be an enlightening look at suffering from a carefully biblical view. I appreciated Sproul's ability to take a difficult subject and make it accessible to every reader. It's an excellent resource to have to help others and yourself. I found this to be an enlightening look at suffering from a carefully biblical view. I appreciated Sproul's ability to take a difficult subject and make it accessible to every reader. It's an excellent resource to have to help others and yourself.

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