Book Review: Walking with God through Pain and Suffering by Timothy Keller

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Timothy Keller’s thoughtful and engaging approach is always seen in just about every book that he writes, which speaks to both Christians and skeptics. This time, the author delves into the subject of pain and suffering, a topic that is difficult to swallow yet one that is timeless and can always be addressed to people who are looking for biblical answers. Keller does so in his new book Walking with God through Pain and Suffering.

 

The book is one of Keller’s longest yet, which is divided in three main sections: Understanding the Furnace (1), Facing the Furnace (2), and Walking with God in the Furnace (3). In all, there are 16 chapters and an epilogue. The author appropriately begins with an engaging introduction that speaks of the universality of suffering in the world, as well as how Christ answers the problem of pain and suffering in His work on the cross (Ch 2). Chapters 6 and 7 elaborate more on this concept when it speaks about the purpose of suffering in God’s plan and the reason for suffering in the world. Finally, the last section talks about how we can respond to the suffering that we encounter everything, which must be grounded in our response of repentance and faith in Christ, without which we will never be saved from the eternal effects of sin and suffering. We are then equipped to face the sufferings of this life through empowerment from the Holy Spirit, as God guides our lives and empowers us to trust in His sovereign plan, and guides us with meaning and purpose.

As a whole, this book is entertaining, well written, and engaging. It is insightful and speaks well of the meaning of suffering and the hope that is found in the gospel of Jesus Christ. There is no real easy explanation as to the reason behind all personal suffering. However, the real key is how one responds to the suffering, which is what the book seems to encourage.

Overall, I would give this a good recommendation. It’s another noteworthy entry into Christian literature of pain and suffering genre, along with Randy Alcorn’s If God is Good and Philip Yancey’s Where is God When It Hurts?