Hope in the face of suffering

Chapter 20 – Death of Death

  • 19 February 2024

We opened this book by thinking about three intruders: fear, suffering and death. One of them, death, is inescapable. Death is the last enemy and it is a terrible one. But we have hope, for we have one who has conquered death, ‘Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer […]

Chapter 19 – The Medicine Chest

  • 12 February 2024

Finally, then, to the medicine chest: what does the Bible have to say about suffering? If there is a God who is loving, why does he allow suffering? Firstly, suffering wasn’t part of God’s plan. The world was made by God and it was very good. There was no suffering or death. Suffering results from […]

Chapter 18 – Suffering for the Faith

  • 5 February 2024

When I was a young boy my father, who was a pastor, took us Bible smuggling behind the Iron Curtain most summers. When we visited these persecuted churches I was struck by how vibrant their faith was despite – or perhaps, because of – their suffering. One man in particular, a friend of mine called […]

Chapter 17 – Burning Hearts, Opened Eyes

  • 29 January 2024

How do many of us feel today? Afraid of death? Depressed and despairing? Maybe we have doubts? What is God going to do when everything seems to be going wrong? Why doesn’t he say or do something? There was a group of people 2000 years ago who felt exactly the same way. When Jesus was […]

Chapter 16 – Light in the Valley of Shadows

  • 22 January 2024

The Psalms are not in a random order. They have been carefully arranged. We must go through the suffering of Psalm 22 to get to the peace and rest of Psalm 23. Not our suffering, but his – Jesus’s. Psalm 22 opens with the cry of Jesus on the cross, ‘My God, my God, why […]

Chapter 15 – Yet Not My Will

  • 15 January 2024

We are treading here on holy ground and so we must tread reverently. The Lord Jesus is like us in that He too experienced fear, ‘Take this cup away from me; yet not my will, but yours be done’ (Lk. 22:42). When we are frightened we may recall that the Lord in His humanity faced […]

Chapter 14 – Meeting the Saviour

  • 8 January 2024

We must never treat suffering as an abstract philosophical issue. Jesus’s disciples did this in John 9. When they saw a man who was born blind begging they wondered, ‘Who sinned, this man or his parents?’ Jesus reproves them by saying, ‘Neither … this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in […]

Chapter 13 – The Touch of Life

  • 18 December 2023

Where do we go for help with fear, suffering and death? The Lord. And what is He like? This is an important point. The better you know someone, the more you are likely to trust them – assuming, that is, that they are of good character. This small story is one of my favourites for […]

Chapter 12 – The Keys of Death

  • 11 December 2023

The writing of the first Bishop of Liverpool, J.C. Ryle, has been a great source of help to me in my suffering. His famous expository thoughts on the Gospels have been an equal help to many others. Below are seven reflections he made on the story of Lazarus found in John’s Gospel. I’ve added my […]

Chapter 11 – Faith in the Storm

  • 4 December 2023

What’s our biggest problem as Christians? I suggest it is that we don’t know God enough, we don’t trust Him enough, we don’t love Him enough and we don’t pray to Him enough. This is not a new problem and, in a strange way, we should find that encouraging. Long ago another group of Christians […]