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Walking with God through Pain and Suffering Hardcover – October 1, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

As Keller notes, no one is immune to pain and suffering. No matter how hard we work to remain healthy and maintain strong relationships with family and friends and at work, “something will inevitably ruin it,” he writes. “Human life is fatally fragile and subject to forces beyond our power to manage.” To avoid falling into despair, we need spiritual support. After all, the great theme of the Bible is how God brings joy through suffering. This insightful book offers hard-earned advice on how to accept and ultimately transcend the pain. First, Keller examines human suffering through the ages and the ways that different cultures and religions have coped. Next, he discusses what the Bible says about suffering. Finally, he offers practical advice on how to live through it. He discusses the problem of evil, the reasons for suffering, the varieties of suffering, and the necessity of hope. A luminous and ultimately hopeful examination of the many aspects of suffering. --June Sawyers


Praise for Walking with God through Pain and Suffering

“It has something for everyone—something for the agnostic (Keller makes a strong argument that there are no true atheists); something for the philosopher (although he invites the wounded reader to skip that section); and something for the believer being beckoned into the inner sanctum of sharing in the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings (a place no one naturally wants to go).” - The Gospel Coalition

"It is a resource that takes a multidimensional approach to suffering - tackling the internal and external realities - and takes us deep theologically and practically." - Vertical Living Ministries

"A luminous and ultimately hopeful examination of the many aspects of suffering." - Booklist

Praise for Timothy Keller and his other books:

"Tim Keller's ministry in New York City is leading a generation of seekers and skeptics toward belief in God. I thank God for him." – Billy Graham

“Unlike most suburban megachurches, much of Redeemer is remarkably traditional. What is not traditional is Dr. Keller’s skill in speaking the language of his urbane audience…Observing Dr. Keller’s professorial pose on stage, it is easy to understand his appeal.” – The New York Times

“Fifty years from now, if evangelical Christians are widely known for their love of cities, their commitment to mercy and justice, and their love of their neighbors, Tim Keller will be remembered as a pioneer of the new urban Christians.” – Christianity Today Magazine

“With intellectual, brimstone-free sermons that manage to cite Woody Allen alongside Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, Keller draws some 5,000 young followers every Sunday. Church leaders see him as a model of how to evangelize urban centers across the country, and Keller has helped ‘plant’ 50 gospel-based Christian churches around New York plus another 50 from San Francisco to London.” – New York Magazine

“This is the book I give to all my friends who are serious spiritual seekers or skeptics.” – Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life, on The Reason for God

“Keller mines material from literary classics, philosophy, anthropology and a multitude of other disciplines to make an intellectually compelling case for God. Written for skeptics and the believers who love them, the book draws on the author's encounters as founding pastor of New York's booming Redeemer Presbyterian Church…[The Reason for God] should serve both as testimony to the author's encyclopedic learning and as a compelling overview of the current debate on faith for those who doubt and for those who want to reevaluate what they believe, and why.” – Publishers Weekly on The Reason for God

“World has briefly reviewed about 200 books over the past year. Many stand out, but one in particular is likely to change many lives and ways of thinking. World’s Book of the Year is Tim Keller’s The Reason for God. ” – Marvin Olasky on The Reason for God

“It’s a great resource to equip you to speak with your secular friends; to show them why the Christian understanding of marriage is not only a tremendous blessing, it’s the only one that works.” – ChristianPost.com on The Meaning of Marriage

The Meaning of Marriage is incredibly rich with wisdom and insight that will leave the reader, whether single or married, feeling uplifted. While the book is filled with expertly selected biblical verses, nonreligious readers willing to ‘try on’ these observations may find answers not only to the meaning of marriage but to that even bigger question—the meaning of life itself.” – The Washington Times on The Meaning of Marriage

“Theologically rich and philosophically informed, yet accessible and filled with practical wisdom.” – Cardus on Every Good Endeavor

“This book is for us all and through its reading it can change and reshape your entire outlook on your life.” – SarahMac on Every Good Endeavor

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton; First Edition edition (October 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525952454
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525952459
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (262 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,335 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

TIMOTHY KELLER was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and educated at Bucknell University, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and Westminster Theological Seminary. He was first a pastor in Hopewell, Virginia. In 1989 he started Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan with his wife, Kathy, and their three sons. Today, Redeemer has more than five thousand regular attendees at five services, a host of daughter churches, and is planting churches in large cities throughout the world. He is the author of COUNTERFEIT GODS, THE PRODIGAL GOD, and the New York Times bestseller THE REASON FOR GOD.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

127 of 134 people found the following review helpful By Dr. David P. Craig TOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 1, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As someone who has experienced a tremendous amount of loss, grief, pain, and suffering I was excited for Tim's book on suffering to arrive. Tim Keller has also suffered much, and thus speaks with credibility as a fellow sufferer in the journey of life where there are many hills and valleys along the way.

Keller divides the book into three parts based on the biblical metaphor where suffering is described as a "fiery furnace." Fire is an image used throughout the Bible as an image describing the torment and pain of suffering. The Bible speaks frequently of troubles and trials as "walking through the fire," a "fiery ordeal", and a "fiery furnace."

Therefore, Keller builds his themes around this image. In Part One Keller considers the furnace from the outside of us. He tackles "the phenomenon of human suffering, as well as the various ways that different cultures, religions, and eras in history have sought to help people face and get through it [suffering]."

In part two Keller moves away from the theoretical realm and begins to hone in on the personal and character issues that are developed when we suffer. He seeks to demonstrate that the common ways we handle suffering via avoidance, denial, and despair are essentially to waste our suffering. On the other hand, the Bible presents a balanced view in how to handle suffering in a step by step fashion. Biblical truth is always balanced and faces hardships head-on because these are the fires that God uses in our lives to mold our character and make us more like Christ.

Part three is the most practical part of the book. Suffering is actually designed by God to "refine us, not destroy us.
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88 of 94 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Book Reviewer TOP 500 REVIEWER on October 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover
One of the most difficult questions to answer is: Why is there pain and suffering?

During the course of my on-going earthly journey I have seen a lot of people in pain. And suffering! I have personally experienced what it means to be in pain, and to suffer. A thousand years may come but I'll never forget the pain and suffering my wife went through during the course of her cancer treatment. Neither will I forget the look on her face when the doctor delivered the devastating news that her cancer had recurred. You'll only understand her pointed question, "Doctor, how long will I live?" if you can mentally process her thought. And you'll only understand what it really means to be in pain and suffering if you hold your dying wife in your arms, so desperately fighting for breath to live another second. Pain and suffering means a 3-year-old something daughter pointing to her mother's coffin being lowered, and asking, "Dad, you said heaven is up in the sky, and that mom is going to heaven but why is she being buried?"

I have kept asking myself time, without number, "Why?"

New York Times best-selling author Timothy Keller in his new book, Walking with God through Pain and Suffering, explores this most difficult subject in his inimitable unique style, sharing deep insights based on the Scripture which should find many takers.

Explaining that the phenomenon of human suffering, as well as the various ways that different cultures, religions, and eras in history have sought to help people face and get through suffering, the author stated that the most common means of handling suffering is denial and despair. He gives a step-by-step biblical method to be adopted to tackle suffering.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
From such a gloomy and difficult topic as pain and suffering comes a beautiful, even glorious book. This book is not mainly for theologians and seminarians (although they will appreciate it too) but for laypeople and average Christian people--people like me. I am an ordinary Christian who has never really understood or made full sense of the role that pain and suffering was intended to make in my life. This book goes beyond this topic and for me gave meaning to my entire Christian experience in a way that no other book ever has.

I found my reading experience to not be grim and boring (as I expected with such a topic) but intriguing and eventually fascinating because everything I have been taught as a Christian came together and began to make sense. I initially purchased it because I am going through an intensely painful illness and needed some encouragement. This book provided it. It is not light reading, but it is important and meaningful reading; thus I would not recommend it for someone who is grieving so deeply that they cannot focus enough to handle a deep and intense book. But I would recommend it for those who love them.

So much of what the Bible says about suffering is against our Western culture's admonitions and we don't even realize it. As Christians, we have even adopted a lot of these cultural beliefs. This book will pull you back into a Biblical worldview and remind you of what you know to be true.

The book is divided into three parts. The first part of the book gives a background on pain and suffering, a general history of how different cultures--including our culture--views suffering. There is some philosophy in this section, and I found it a tad hard to get through. Persist, reader, as it is worth it!
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