Book Review: Glorious Ruin

Who loves suffering?  Should we welcome suffering?  We should put out a sign…”Suffering Welcome Here”.  Suffering sets us free to experience the life that God created us to live for His glory according to Glorious Ruin the latest release by Pastor Tullian Tchividjian.  I love a good comfortable existence just as much as the next girl…but, what am I giving up?  Am I missing out on God’s best by not fulling embracing the opportunity to suffer with those who suffer and mourn with those who mourn?

I highlighted several things while reading.  I can assure you that I intend to dive into this a little deeper in the midst of the frenzy and the disconcerting moments of life.  Running hard after Christ means that I will lean into suffering in order to have a more complete picture of what God is trying to teach me in the moment.

  • Suffering is suffering, and it is universal.
  • Nothing forces us to confront the deeper questions of life quite like suffering.
  • Violence is strangely capable of returning my characters to reality and preparing them to accept their moment of grace.  Their heads are so hard that almost nothing else will do the work.  This idea, that reality is something to which we must be returned at considerable cost, is one which is seldom understood by the casual reader, but it is one which is implicit in the Christian view of the world.  Flannery O’Connor, Mystery and Manners
  • God intends to free us from more than our idolatry; He intends to free us from ourselves.  He even wants to liberate us from our need to find a silver lining in suffering.
  • We don’t need answers as much as we need God’s presence in and through the suffering itself.
  • The foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.  1 Corinthians 1:25
  • Grace accomplishes what the Law never could –a heart that desires to obey.  Indeed, it is “God’s kindness that leads you toward repentance.”  Romans 2:4
  • When an admission of suffering or weakness is interpreted as a lack of faith, honesty soon falls by the wayside, leaving the sufferer lonelier than before.  There must be a Good Friday before their can be an Easter, and if our suffering is hedged in language intended to shield God from culpability, we never get beyond the life-support stage.
  • Instead of a hospital for sufferers, church becomes a glorified costume party, where lonely men and women tirelessly police each other’s facade of holiness.
  • Many and various are the things to which a man may feel himself drawn, but one thing there is to which no man ever felt himself drawn in any way, that is, to suffering and humiliation.  This we men think we ought to shun as far as possible, and in any case that we must be compelled to it.  Soren Kierkegaard, The Prayers of Kierkegaard
  • We were promised sufferings.  They were part of the program me.  We were even told “Blessed are they that mourn.” C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed
  • God is the one to be praised, not our transformation.
  • Do not fret over your heavy troubles, for they are the heralds of weighty mercies.  Charles Spurgeon, Morning by Morning
  • The gospel alone can free us from our addiction to being liked–that Jesus measured up for us so that we wouldn’t have to live under the enslaving pressure of measuring up for others–including ourselves.
  • For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18
  • Suffering does not rob us of joy; idolatry does.
  • But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.  1 Corinthians 1:27-29
  • Brokenness precedes usefulness.
  • Suffering not only has a way of liberating us from the things that enslave us, but also has a way of liberating us from the petty concerns and worries that bog down our everyday existence.
  • Perhaps the only solace you can draw from suffering is that you being to see that we were truly made for another world.  You are right not to be satisfied until you are feasting with the rest of the saints, with King Jesus residing at the head of the table.  This, dear Christian, is what you were made for.  And all the ruin in the world cannot compare to that great day.

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