Thursday, August 13, 2009

Suffering and the Sovereignty of God edited by John Piper and Justin Taylor

This week Crossway is highlighting Suffering and the Sovereignty of God edited by John Piper and Justin Taylor. The quotes below remind me of the maxim of Gregory of Nazianzus, "The unassumed is the unhealed."

Why does suffering exist? How does it advance the mission of the church? How does God’s grace enter suffering? What is the role of hope when things look utterly hopeless?

Suffering and the Sovereignty of God is written to the white-robed army of martyrs “…until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete.” Editors John Piper and Justin Taylor along with a number of contributors deal with the issue of human suffering as it relates to God’s sovereignty.


Here’s a taste of what you’ll find:

“But when God chooses to overcome our rebellion and Satan’s resistance, nothing can stop him. And when God overcomes him and us, we repent and Satan’s power is broken. Here it is in 2 Timothy 2:24-26.” (Piper, 28).

“The mystery of why God has ordained the evils he has is as deep as the mystery of the evils in our hearts. And just as only God can plumb the depths of our hearts, so only God knows how the hurts we do to each other and to ourselves figure into his loving cure of us who shelter ourselves under the blood and righteousness of his Son.” (Talbot, 77).

“In the life and death of Jesus Christ, suffering finds its ultimate purpose and ultimate explanation: suffering exists so God might display the greatness of the glory of the grace of God by suffering in himself to overcome our suffering. Everything—everything—that Christ accomplished for us sinners he accomplished by suffering. Everything we will ever enjoy will come to us because of suffering.” (Piper, 87).

“If we are going to emulate our Savior, we have to identify with the people to whom we take his good news. I don’t advocate that we look for suffering; life brings enough on its own. But what I do advocate is that suffering is an important prerequisite to ministering to hurting people. Christ took on our likeness and subjected himself to the suffering that plagues us.” (Saint, 121).

“So often the initial reaction to painful suffering is Why me? If all that God promises only comes true, then why not me?” (Powlison, 172-173).

“Our fears, anger, doubts, and everything else we feel in our pain don’t make God nervous or uncomfortable with us. God still loves us, and he is still for us.” (Shramek, 189).