My colleague at Christ Reformed Church, Ken Samples, has written a very edifying series of posts over on his blog about a Christian approach to suffering and death. Clearly written, firmly grounded biblically, theologically, and philosophically, and written very personally by one who faced a terrifying illness of his own almost 10 years ago, Ken’s posts are a fine summary of some of the things we should keep in mind either while suffering ourselves, or while coming alongside a brother or sister in the midst of trials.
Several fine books have been written about suffering. Noteworthy (in my opinion) are:
Michael Horton, A Place for Weakness (formerly titled, Too Good to be True)
D.A. Carson, How Long, O Lord?
Nancy Guthrie, Be Still, My Soul
I should say that I find Horton’s book to be the best all-around treatment. It is robustly theological, unswervingly Christocentric and very tender and pastoral.
But I’ve also found Guthrie’s book to be a special blessing. This is an edited volume wherein she has collected 25 excerpts about pain and suffering from a wide range of writers – John Calvin, R.C. Sproul, Joni Eareckson Tada, John Newton, Abraham Kuyper, St. Augustine, Charles Spurgeon, Corrie ten Boom, Martin Luther, Sinclair Ferguson and J.I. Packer – to mention only a few.