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We all know people suffering from sickness, disability, depression, or grief. Oftentimes we who love and support the hurting suffer in our own unique ways. What's more, our own struggles to cope with stress and pain often go unnoticed. Where are we to find strength in such circumstances?
Writing out of his own experience of needing care on a daily basis, Dave Furman offers support, encouragement, and wisdom for those called to care for others in need--equipping us to effectively care for the hurting and pointing us to the strength that God provides.
Number of Pages: 160
Publication Date: 2016
|Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches)|
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Writing from the unique perspective of one who needs care on a daily basis, Dave Furman offers support, wisdom, and encouragement to those who are called to serve others who are hurting.
Dave Furman (ThM, Dallas Theological Seminary) serves as the senior pastor of Redeemer Church of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, which he planted in 2010. Dave and his wife, Gloria, have four children.
“When Jesus said that he came to serve and not be served, he must’ve had in mind the many people who help Dave Furman. This remarkable story provides soul-strengthening encouragement to those who daily bear the burdens of people like me and Dave, people who just need a helping hand, day after day. I intend to give Being There to the many people who are daily there for me, a quadriplegic—it’s a must read for any believer who desires to follow Jesus in a life of service to others.”
Joni Eareckson Tada, Founder and CEO, Joni and Friends International Disability Center
“As a long-term chronic pain sufferer, a pastor to suffering people, and a friend of Dave’s, I highly recommend this book. It is deeply personal, painful, and, above all, hopeful, and I am so glad he has taken the time to share his experiences. This book will point professionals, husbands, wives, and the friends of those who suffer from long-term chronic pain to the glorious truths found in the gospel of Jesus. This is not a book that offers easy solutions, but instead brings Bible-centered counsel to bear on the dark moments of life.”
Mez McConnell, Senior Pastor, Niddrie Community Church, Edinburgh, Scotland; Director, 20schemes; author, Church in Hard Places
“As I think about the people in my world with chronic pain and ongoing difficulties, and about my awkwardness in knowing how best to walk with them, I can’t imagine a better guide than Dave Furman. Being There is filled with insight that only someone who has walked this road can provide.”
Nancy Guthrie, Bible Teacher; author, Seeing Jesus in the Old Testament Bible study series
“As we see in the Scriptures, suffering can create confusion and consternation. How are we to think rightly about darker times? Even more, how can we minister to those suffering and see them (and those nearest to them) in all their humanity to support and encourage? Dave Furman has served us well with Being There. It is an immensely practical book that is saturated with the truth of God’s Word. I have read many books on suffering, and Dave has some unique insights that will encourage your heart. So, whether you are reading this for you, or because someone you love is currently struggling, I believe this book will serve to lift up your eyes to your loving Father who knows your situation and hasn’t abandoned you!”
Matt Chandler, Lead Pastor, The Village Church, Dallas, Texas; President, Acts 29 Church Planting Network; author, The Mingling of Souls
“Pastors: you will love chapter eight. It will supply your church with invaluable guidelines for helping others. The rest of us: we will be better friends to those who suffer when we meditate on Dave’s wise counsel.”
Ed Welch, counselor and faculty, The Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation
“Too often, books are written for the hurting, and the person left out is the friend or family member who is helping the hurting. That’s why Dave Furman’s Being There will be an invaluable resource.”
Deepak Reju, Associate Pastor, Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington, DC; President, Board of Directors, Biblical Counseling Coalition
“Dave Furman has written an insightful and needed book for those who find themselves at a loss when it comes to helping hurting people. Writing from the vantage point of one who daily struggles with pain, Dave gives authoritative counsel to those eager to learn the art of being present and the skill of giving practical care.”
JR Vassar, Lead Pastor, Church at the Cross, Grapevine, Texas; author, Glory Hunger
“Dave Furman has written a book that will be a huge blessing to those who read it and to the suffering friends God has given them the privilege of serving. This is full of pastoral wisdom, profound theology, and deeply personal experience. It is a beautiful book with a beautiful message.”
Sam Allberry, Pastor, St. Mary's Church, Maidenhead, United Kingdom; Editor, The Gospel Coalition
“So much of the Christian life is a matter of simply being there—for those who are hurting. For many years Dave Furman has faithfully modeled being there for others while he himself has benefited from those who have been there for him. This gives him a unique perspective and wisdom in crafting a book about helping the hurting. I highly recommend it.”
Tim Challies, blogger, Challies.com
Michele MorinWarren, MaineAge: 45-54Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Standing and Waiting with Those Who SufferOctober 25, 2016Michele MorinWarren, MaineAge: 45-54Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5The words of 17th century poet John Milton from On His Blindness, come to mind with every visit to my mothers long-term care facility:
They also serve who only stand and wait.
I hope its true, and Id love to report that in the midst of my waiting we have warm and meaningful conversations or that I push her wheelchair outside for sunshine and fresh air, but the truth is that she refuses to leave her room, and that for the duration of my visits, the t.v. is blaring infomercials and game shows. With every visit, I wonder if her life is enhanced at all by my presence. Of course, standing and waiting on behalf of my mother also includes advocating for her when her crankiness gets in the way of administrators hearing her real needs, calling health care providers, and bringing her treats, but, most of the time, I realize that I dont know what to do in the face of her great need.
It is this awkward and frustrating sense of helplessness that often prevents people of faith from taking risks in serving those who are disabled or grieving or suffering in other ways. Being There by Dave Furman offers inspiration and advice from the perspective of the one being served. Readers who are familiar with his wife Glorias writing will remember that Dave is afflicted with a neurological condition which, over the past decade, has disabled his arms, caused chronic pain, and resulted in four major surgeries and a variety of tests, therapies, and prescriptions none of which have been helpful.
With candor and realism, Dave shares his discouragement, his depression, and the impact his disability has had on his young family and on his ministry as a church planter on the Arabian peninsula. He warns readers of the danger inherent in playing the if only game, which goes like this:
Fill in the blank If only ___________, then Id be happy.
If only my arms were healthy.
If only I had more money.
If only my spouse were healed.
This is not a game that is exclusive to the disabled, and Dave quotes John Calvin, referencing our idol-factory hearts, for somewhere along the way he realized that pain-free living had become an idol to him.
Suffering is a group project, and those who care for the suffering have a unique need to come clean before God about their own grieving process. They need a marathon-level strength that is not their own in order to act, day after day, with selflessness toward one who is continually in need. The messy process of grieving over a loved ones pain is hard work and is best done in community. Over and over, the Furmans urged: Dont walk this journey alone.
The Psalms of Lament (particularly Psalm 88) give words for the hopelessness and for the sense that God is distant and uncaring. Three lessons emerge from the text:
It is possible that a believer may experience unrelieved suffering.
Our pain and suffering are not the final word, but remind us of the redemption to come.
The psalmist does not give up. Even in the midst of darkness, he prays.
Being There thrums with Gospel-based reassurance that not only does God not look away in our suffering, but the truth is that the only person who sought God and truly did lose Gods face and did experience total darkness was Jesus and this was on our behalf. Because Jesus was truly abandoned by God the Father, we will never be abandoned by God. This is solid truth to encourage the heart of the suffering as well as the compassionate caregiver.
A highlight of Daves writing is the wide range of great authors and thinkers he quotes. For example, citing Thomas Chalmers on The Expulsive Power of a New Affection, Dave reminds readers that our love for the hurting comes out of new hearts based on resurrection-hope and because of what Jesus has already done for us not because we are stellar servants or possess super stores of personal endurance.
Horatius Bonars Words to Winners of Souls applies to caregivers as thoroughly as to soul winners. You must be much with Christ before you are anything for anybody else.
Seventeenth century English Puritan John Flavels writing drives home the truth that only those with a healthy heart can really help the hurting. With this emphasis on a growing relationship with God in place, Being There moves on to some very practical components for helping the hurting and their caregivers:
Faithful friendship that offers silent presence, the fellowship of mutual burden bearing, loyalty over the long haul, the grace of lavish and ready forgiveness, and a willingness to use humor and lightheartedness to lift spirits.
Continual clinging to the hope offered in the gospel over all other possible sources of hope.
Selfless service that washes feet, honors the dignity of any image-bearer, humbly offers healing words, and shows up with specific and practical hands-on help.
Heartfelt prayer in the manner suggested by Dietrich Bonhoeffer: True spiritual love will speak to Christ about a brother even more than to a brother about Christ. This includes urging the hurting to draw strength from their own prayer life.
Loving rebuke when its clear that hopes need realignment and fear is in the drivers seat. Paul refers to it as restoration in the sense of putting a bone back in joint.
Avoidance of unhelpful patterns such as becoming the fixer; delivering a message of false hope; unsympathetic questioning, pushing, condemning, or comparing; and allowing the disability to become anyones main identity.
We are called to a life of what Paul Tripp describes as intentionally intrusive relationships. When we, as the Body of Christ, bear one anothers burdens in a culture of caring, we put the love of God on display and demonstrate our belief that He can provide strength to help us overcome obstacles and minister with love to those who are hurting. We can stand and wait, as we watch the grace of God prevail.
This book was provided by Crossway in exchange for my review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 : Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.