Recommended Resources: April 20, 2020
Book Recommendation from a Pastor
Recommendation by Pastor Tim St. John
The honor of counseling those who are suffering seems to always come with challenging questions like: “Why me, God?”,“How long will I have to suffer?”, and “What is God’s purpose for allowing all this pain?” Joni Eareckson Tada’s book, “When God Weeps,” takes up these challenging questions and answers them biblically, personally, and with a focus on Christ.
In the beginning, Joni recommends that you not read the book if you’re still angry. But Joni’s writing is so personal that I think you will find your heart softening as you read the book, even if your heart is still wrestling with present suffering. The theology of suffering is focused on Christ and is beautifully woven with stories of her own suffering and the stories of those she has ministered to. Her stories of suffering have been forged during more than forty years in a wheelchair as a quadriplegic. Yet every one of her stories are Christ-centered and as you read you get to witness how she wrestled through her suffering again and again to center her heart on Christ.
However Covid-19 is touching your life, this book can comfort you through the pain, help you see Christ’s purposes in your suffering, and equip you to care for those hurting around you. If you’d like to use it as a discipleship tool, our counseling ministry has written a study guide to go with it. You can download it here.
Here are a few quotes to help you see the personal, practical, and Christ-centered qualities of this work:
“Gut-wrenching questions honor God. Despair directed at God is a way of encountering him, opening ourselves up to the One and only Someone who can actually do something about our plight. And whether we, like Greg, collide with the Almighty or simply bump up against him, we cannot be the same. We never are when we experience God.” (155)
“God, like a father, doesn’t just give advice. He gives himself. He becomes the husband to the grieving widow (Isaiah 54:5). He becomes the comforter to the barren woman (Isaiah 54:1). He becomes the father of the orphaned (Psalm 10:14). He becomes the bridegroom to the single person (Isaiah 62:5). He is the healer to the sick (Exodus 15:26). He is the wonderful counselor to the confused and depressed (Isaiah 9:6). This is what you do when someone you love is in anguish; you respond to the plea of their heart by giving them your heart.” (125)
Expanding on some of the things Pastor David preached on, Trevin Wax has us consider what “normal” will look like for us as Christians through the coronavirus and after.
Sometimes we assume the Christian response during trials, like the coronavirus, is to maintain a happy demeanor. Philip Graham Ryken shows us lamenting and sadness can be a proper response in times of suffering.
The Bible teaches us our hope is certain. Let’s be active in preparing our minds by remembering the glory of Jesus Christ and what’s to come. Our longing for reprieve from the pandemic should catapult us to when all things will be made new.
In this article, a couple shares what they have learned about their marriage in this season of quarantine. The same principles can be applied towards others we live with: children, roommates, parents, etc.
One of the humbling realities of this pandemic is in how our sin has surfaced. This article walks us through some considerations on how this virus could be God’s pruning judgment for our good. This season provides us unique ways to grow, but only if we will first admit and address our need to repent.
This pandemic may result or has resulted in the loss of jobs or businesses. To comfort our hearts, here are some considerations of what God may be doing in our lives.
Just in case you missed it. If you enjoyed our church’s rendition of the song, “Christ Our Hope in Life and Death,” from Easter Service, there’s good news. You can now listen to it on repeat.
In the midst of difficult times, we need something greater to put our hope in. Jesus has conquered the grave, so we can trust Him to be powerful over death, virus, and our fears.
The resurrection is not only to be celebrated on Easter Sunday, but everyday till Christ returns. Andrew Peterson played a “quarantine” concert focused on resurrection songs he wrote. The lyrics are both theologically rich and beautifully crafted.
It’s easy to forget that God is not only doing something among us during COVID-19, but He is also doing something globally. This video series highlights encouraging reports of what God is doing around the world.
In this video, some of the faculty of Westminster Theological Seminary as well as an experienced physician discuss how we can love each other during these uncertain times. The church is afforded an occasion to testify to the gospel by our kindness and care to each other before the watching world.
Here’s a wide range of books for all ages and interests. This is an accessible way we can all redeem the time.
A poem based on Psalm 23. It is so good to know God is with us.