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Reviewed by Hilary Hawkes for Readers' Favorite
The Reality of Suffering and the Peace of God is an inspirational and encouraging book about the Christian viewpoint of suffering. Author Pastor Glenn C. Stewart seeks to help others deal with the pain and traumas they face in life by sharing his own ongoing encounter with suffering. His words, based on a sermon he delivered to his congregation at Faith Community Church, draws on Biblical passages and verses from both the Old and New Testaments, teaching that God is ever present and alongside to strengthen and guide.
The book begins with the pastor’s recollection and empathy for the many people he has come to know who have faced traumatic events, losses and difficulties. Readers will identify with the sense of sadness and bewilderment that can be experienced, and be encouraged by the author’s assertion that peace, acceptance and hope can still be found, even in the most difficult of situations. The verses Stewart brings to our attention convey God’s love and assurance in a strong and comforting way. The message of this book is that God heals in many different ways in this life and, or, the next. The author’s own experiences and testament of his diagnosis and treatment for a sub-cortical brain tumor put him alongside others in emotional need, making this book far more than a "teachy" sermon.
Pastor Glenn C. Stewart’s very readable, thoughtful and wise words will help others who are suffering to stand firm in their faith through understanding and remembering their God’s promises: for example, Isaiah 43:2 says “when you pass through the waters, I will be with you”; Joshua 1:5 says “I will not leave you or forsake you”. I particularly liked the chapter on Finding Courage where we are reminded that Moses, Joshua, Gideon, Jeremiah etc all felt too uncertain of themselves to face big challenges – but all found themselves able to do so when they put their trust in God. The recognition of fear as being a very natural and human response is importantly recognized in the book, which has a sensitive, empathetic, as well as confident tone.
A short and carefully crafted book, The Reality of Suffering and the Peace of God can help the reader find strength and courage at the darkest of times, whether dealing with their own or a loved one’s suffering.