Pain and suffering are not the most popular topics in Christian faith. Yet, Jesus Christ warned his followers that it’s part of the deal following Him. We may be persecuted because of of our faith. We will face difficulties, physical or mental pain and suffering, may not be among the rich and famous while living our lives here on Earth. Cheap answers like God is working out everything, He has a plan although we don’t see it (yet), and Her carries us each day may feel as useless as the dream of escaping all problems in a kind of collective denial of the broken world around us.
Horace Williams Jr. shares his personal lessons and decades of Bible studies on the topic in The Furnace of Affliction : How God Uses Our Pain and Suffering for His Purpose that God wants us to bless with conviction, correction, encouragement, instruction, comfort, and joy. Pain and suffering are means to get purified, restored, refined, and prepared for good works God intended us to pick up, and everlasting life with Him. Williams uses stories of biblical characters like Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Jesus Christ, Peter, and Paul to explain how God’s purpose surpasses our understanding of everyday adverse circumstances. God sometimes uses pain to help us develop an intimate relationship with Him. He also uses it to divulge sin in our lives, develop our faith, and demolish our pride, determine our path, demonstrate His grace, display His love, deepen our commitment to Him, and deliver hope, comfort, and joy.
Experiencing Christ involves suffering. Refining fire questions at the end of each chapter invoke introspection or a conversation if you use this book in your Bible study or small group in church. Although there have been more in-depth books written about suffering, William’s contribution offers a concise, readable testimony substantiated with Scripture to support you as Christian.