03 (March 2014)

Invest your Suffering

Invest your Suffering
John Palmer
John Palmer John Palmer lives in Ormskirk, Lancashire.
01 March, 2014 2 min read

Invest your suffering
Paul Mallard
IVP
192 pages, £8.99
ISBN: 978-1-78359-006-3
Star Rating: 5 stars

Paul Mallard will be known to many. Some will be aware that his wife Edrie has been ill for many years. During her pregnancy with their fourth child she developed a chronic neurological illness. Although in some ways the symptoms are similar to multiple sclerosis, there is still no diagnosis — it seems to be a unique illness. She is unable to walk unaided.

This book is a moving, inspiring and challenging account of how Paul and Edrie have, by the grace of God, coped with this situation. They have coped by believing and applying the Bible. It is a privilege to walk with them ‘living in the midst of the book’.

Paul explains that he has two convictions. The first is that all of the Scriptures, except the first two and last two chapters, are about suffering and pain, for pain is a universal fact, and the Bible an honest book.

The second is that the world is not only full of pain, but also of people who triumph in the midst of their pain. Pain either makes us better or makes us bitter. In the Bible, God tells us how to respond to it.

As one might expect, the lessons begin in Job, for that is where Paul and Edrie turned first. Other passages are opened up — some of the Psalms, parts of 2 Corinthians and Hebrews 12.

Above all, they have gained strength from the love of Christ: ‘The life of Jesus is the supreme source of comfort for the suffering Christian’. There is a helpful exposition of the achievement of the cross, as taught by Jesus in John 12:23-33. Finally, there is the glorious hope of the new creation, where suffering and pain are no more.

Such a book cannot have been easy to write. The style makes it easy to read, but the content should make one pause often for thought.

It would be easy to write an extended essay on the lessons learnt. Instead, you should buy the book. Read it, be challenged by it and pray for God’s continuing grace for Paul and Edrie.

John Palmer
Tredegar

John Palmer
John Palmer lives in Ormskirk, Lancashire.
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