Sunday, June 23, 2019

Suffering is Never for Nothing

Adapted from a set of teaching tapes Elliot had recorded, Suffering is Never for Nothing condenses a deep topic into a rather small amount of pages.  But those pages speak volumes.

Elliot has a gift for distilling deep spiritual truth into everyday language and experience. One of my favorite quotes from this book was, "The purest gold comes out of the hottest fires."  Do you want God to purify you, to make you the highest quality gold?  That will come from only the highest temperatures that are forged in the fires of suffering and pain.

One cannot look at Elliot and say she does not understand for she has walked through more valleys than most. And the lessons she learned are like gold shared with other believers.  She shared about hearing a missionary speak at a chapel service while attending Wheaton College. One phrase stood out from the speaker: "If my life is broken when given to Jesus, it may be because pieces will feed a multitude when a loaf would satisfy only a little boy."

I have to say I had never quite viewed the miracle of feeding the 5000 quite in that light. But it certainly makes one ponder whether they want to stay "whole" and feed only themselves or be "broken" and feed a multitude. To let the brokenness God allows in our life to provide encouragement and nourishment to others.

Elliot discusses four areas of going through suffering. The first requires acceptance; realizing that anything God has allowed in our life is intended to purify us. It may be an area where we didn't realize we needed pruning, but God does.  Elliot talks secondly about the importance of gratitude.  Not for the trial itself--no, she doesn't expect someone to thank God for cancer.  But rather to thank Him for using whatever circumstances necessary to refine and draw one closer to Him. To be grateful for the good He can bring from tragedy or suffering. To recognize that God is good regardless of how things may appear.

Once the believer is able to express gratitude, they can then offer the experience back to God as a gift of worship. Those broken pieces are the makings of an offering given back to God after which He can take those pieces and finally bring about transfiguration in the believer's life.

I recommend this book for any believer: new or old, no matter how much one is suffering. Elliot masterfully offers an eternal persective on our suffering and helps guide readers to find the treasure and strengthening of faith that can only come about through suffering. Readers will feel as though they have chatted with a wise and dear friend after reading this book. And they will be given fresh courage to face the fires that God will  use to refine us into pure gold.

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Disclaimer: I received a free digital copy of Suffering is Never for Nothing from NetGalley for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received.

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