We who live in Western nations live in more security, comfort, and health than many other parts of the world – at least enough that we don’t face imminent threats on a daily basis at this point in time. When suffering or difficulties strike, they tend to catch us by surprise. R.C. Sproul’s purpose in Surprised by Suffering is to prepare the reader for the suffering that will come and to not be surprised by it.
In the first part of the book titled “Unto Death”, the author describes the depth of Jesus’ suffering and why God has chosen the route of suffering to bring redemption to a fallen world. God is sovereign, nothing is random, and we should not think it strange or unusual when it strikes. Jesus is our example. He wanted the cup of suffering to pass from him, but he did not “name it and claim it”. Our requests are to be full of humility and submission, letting God be God rather than demanding blessings from Him.
The second part of the book addresses issues after death. The author provides biblical proof along with credible speculations about life after death, the problems of reincarnation, the anticipation of the resurrection, and what heaven will be like. He shows us what we can know about heaven and why our limited frame of reference makes it hard for us to comprehend it.
In the appendix, he answers specific questions surrounding the problem of suffering, like: what happens when babies die, what role free will plays in suffering, and contacting the dead through mediums. His theology is biblically sound while being straightforward and easy to grasp.
I absolutely LOVED this book because my love for God and my understanding of His ways grew leaps and bounds. My favorite part was the modern day story of Job in the business world to show that faith is not blind, but rather is rooted in the knowledge of God’s character. I want to read this book again and again so that the truths are planted so deeply in my heart that they will be part of my thinking every time I face difficulties.I received a complimentary copy of this book from Reformation Trust in exchange for a review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.