Monday, May 21, 2007

A Steadfast Heart

I've recently been reading a book by Elyse Fitzpatrick called A Steadfast Heart: Experiencing God's Comfort in Life's Storms. There are several good books out there on the topic of suffering and the Christian, but where this one stands out is that it is very pastoral and devotional rather the theological (although there is plenty of good theology in it too!). Also, it is specifically aimed at women.

The author has gone through a number of difficult trials over recent years and during that time her pastor preached on Psalm 57, giving her the idea for this book. This Psalm was written by David while he was in the cave, fleeing from Saul and the book walks us through this Psalm, pointing out the relevance to our lives today in the difficulties we face.

This is not a book of glib platitudes or quick-fixes but instead, it points us consistently to the cross and God's gracious, sovereign purposes:
In our trials, it's important for us to remember that everything we have was purchased for us by a merciful and loving Saviour. He was forsaken so that we would not be. He was punished so that we could be set free. The assurance that we have in the midst of our storm is that God's ear is always open to our cry and that He's not punishing us for our sins but rather has poured out every drop of His just wrath on His innocent Son.

Yes, we are suffering, but our suffering is not judgement for our sin, will not be eternal and is something we don't walk through alone. It is true that there are times when we reap the consequences of our sin, but even in this reaping, we are not being punished by God. He does discipline us, but His discipline is always redemptive and remedial, never punitive. He does correct us for our good and out of love, but if we're in His Son, we'll never know His eternal judgement and displeasure. He's with us even in our failures and is using them to benefit our soul and cause us to love the cross more and more.
The book also comes with a CD containing readings and songs, one of which was written specially. It is also a treasure trove of helpful quotes and poems. Each chapter ends with five or six questions for personal reflection.

I highly recommend this book, especially if you are going through a difficult trial. You can find out more about the author in an interview she gave over at The Purple Cellar (part one and part two).


ukrainiac said...

I intend to purchase this book as soon as I touchdown in the States next month. I am living in a culture where so many have suffered and/or are still suffering. I hope this book will give me additional insight to encourage those around me.

Vicki said...

Definitely need to read this one. I hadn't heard of it--thanks for posting. Blessings to you!

Bill Reichart said...

thanks for the heads up on this, her book on Idols of the Heart was excellent.
bill from ProvocativeChurch