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  • Writer's pictureCaroline

Suffering is Never for Nothing | Book Review

Updated: Mar 1, 2019

Wow. Just wow.

I have been blessed by Elisabeth Elliot's writing for years, so when I saw that this brand new book was releasing this month, I jumped at the chance to get my hands on it. And I wasn't disappointed.

Book Description (abridged)

Hard times come for all in life, with no real explanation. When we walk through suffering, it has the potential to devastate and destroy, or to be the gateway to gratitude and joy.

... Why doesn't God do something about suffering? He has, He did, He is, and He will.

Suffering and love are inexplicably linked, as God's love for His people is evidenced in His sending Jesus to carry our sins, griefs, and sufferings on the cross, sacrificially taking what was not His on Himself so that we would not be required to carry it. He has walked the ultimate path of suffering, and He has won the victory on our behalf.

This truth led Elisabeth to say, "Whatever is in the cup that God is offering to me, whether it be pain and sorrow and suffering and grief along with the many more joys, I'm willing to take it because I trust Him."

Because suffering is never for nothing.

Photo by Daniel Williams

My Thoughts

Suffering Is Never for Nothing was originally delivered by Elisabeth at a small conference in a series of six sessions. Her down-to-earth anecdotes and raw, transparent testimony seemed especially alive and relatable. This book made me cry...and it takes a lot for that to happen.

Elisabeth Elliot's first husband (Jim) was murdered by the Waorani people in Ecuador, and she lost her second husband to cancer - so she knows what she is talking about when it comes to suffering.

"The deepest things that I have learned in my own life have come from the deepest suffering. And out of the deepest waters and the hottest fires have come the deepest things that I know about God."

To her, the definition of suffering is, "having what you don't want or wanting what you don't have." That covers everything from a broken-down car or a frustrating relationship to life-threatening illness or losing the person you love the most. This book's application is boundless. It is, at its core, encouragement from someone who says, here's what God has taught me through the circumstances He has given me.

The thing that stood out to me most was her statement that there is no intellectual satisfaction to that age-old question, why, and God doesn't give us an explanation. He gives us a Person, Jesus Christ. He gives us Himself, and says, I am enough for you. It brought tears to my eyes when she shared her emotions upon hearing of Jim's death and when she learned of her second husband's diagnosis of terminal cancer. She shared how, in the darkest times of drowning in tears and disbelief, she realized,

"...My faith had to be founded on the character of God Himself. ...What looked like a contradiction in terms, I had to leave in God's hands and say, okay, Lord. I don't understand it. I don't like it. But I only had two choices. He is either God or He's not. I am either held in the Everlasting Arms or I'm at the mercy of chance and I have to trust Him or deny Him."

The six chapters are very easy to read, but at the same time give reason to stop and ponder. Elisabeth walks through the truth about suffering in this world and the message God is giving us when we face trials. She gives wise counsel on how we should accept and be grateful for those trials, and offer them back to our God as a sacrifice. In closing, she dwells on the mysteries of God's transforming power - turning ashes into beauty, the cross into victory, our mourning into joy. When we recognize trials as a gift from a Heavenly Father, we begin to see the one truth that can comfort us when our hearts break - our sovereign God is good. God gives us Himself, and He is enough. Everything He does fits into a pattern of good for His glory.

And thus, suffering is never, ever for nothing.

"...I realized then that God was not telling me that everything was going to be fine, humanly speaking... But He was giving me one unmistakable promise: I will be with you. For I am the Lord your God."

I encourage you to get your own copy here, ** now. You won't regret it.


*I am a B&HPublishing/Lifeway Blogger. I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The opinions expressed here are my own.*

**(This post contains Amazon affiliate links. That means that I'll earn up to a 10% commission if you make any purchases after being referred through my website. Don't worry - it's at no extra cost to you.)

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