Joni Eareckson Tada knows suffering. At 16 years old, an accident left her paralyzed from the neck down. Meeting her new friend, Steve Estes, she asked him the difficult question, “Do you think God had anything to do with my breaking my neck?” to which Steve bravely replied, “God put you in that chair, Joni. I don’t know why, but if you’ll trust Him instead of fighting Him, you’ll find out why – if not in this life, then in the next. He let you break your neck because He loves you.”
When God Weeps, written by Joni Eareckson Tada and Steve Estes, dives deeply into the very real struggles and questions that arise when someone is truly suffering. Written from the perspective of two friends who spent years pouring over scripture concerning this subject, this book shines deep biblical truths on the very real instances of suffering that we and those around us experience in this life.
One thing this book capitalizes on is the fact that Jesus understands suffering. It can be tempting to think that God is completely unsympathetic and coldly lets bad things happen, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Taking a close look at the life of Christ, this book reminds us of how very deeply Christ chose to suffer for our sake. Not only did He die a physically excruciating death, but He also endured the full weight of our sins and His Father’s wrath – when all the while He could have stopped the discomfort at any time. Speaking of Jesus’ crucifixion, Estas writes, “One raises a mallet to sink in the spike. But the soldier’s heart must continue pumping as he readies the prisoner’s wrist. Someone must sustain the soldier minute by minute…Who supplies breath to his lungs? …The victim wills the soldier to live on – He grants the warrior’s continued existence. The man swings.”
Because we have a Savior who truly understands our sufferings, we can trust that He never wastes our pain. Knowing how much it hurts, He always has a plan and reason for our times of suffering, and it is always good.
This book also encourages its readers that suffering point us toward a longing for heaven. As the book states, “Suffering swells our feet so that earth’s shoes won’t fit.” Romans 8:18-19 encourages, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.” There is great hope in suffering, because we know that for true believers this life is not all there is. We are not meant to be comfortable here, because we are not yet home. Our hope is in heaven, and suffering can prompt us to properly yearn for heaven.
When God Weeps is a powerful resource that we often use here at VOH. If you are interested in purchasing this resource, get it here!