Surprised by Suffering, Revised and Expanded
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Reformation Trust Publishing / 2009 / Hardcover

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Surprised by Suffering, Revised and Expanded

Reformation Trust Publishing / 2009 / Hardcover

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Product Description

In this classic book, now in a revised and expanded edition, R.C. Sproul argues that we should not be surprised by suffering, rather we should expect pain and sorrow in this life. Sproul offers biblical counsel and comfort for those in trying times and those who minister to the suffering. His words will help believers who face difficult times stand in faith.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 157
Vendor: Reformation Trust Publishing
Publication Date: 2009
Dimensions: 9.25 X 6.25 (inches)
ISBN-13: 9781567691849

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Publisher's Description

Suffering often seems to catch us by surprise. One day we are healthy, comfortable, and happy. The next we find ourselves ill or injured, struggling, and distraught. The pain that invades our lives may come from our own suffering or that of a loved one. But no matter the source, we didn't see it coming. All too often, our perplexity prompts us to suspect God of wrongdoing.

In this classic book, republished in a revised and expanded edition, Dr. R. C. Sproul argues that we should not be surprised by suffering; instead, we should expect pain and sorrow in this life. Some are actually called to a "vocation" of suffering, and all of us are called to undergo the ultimate suffering of death. God promises in His Word that difficult times will come upon us, but He also promises that He allows suffering for our good and His glory, and He will never give us more than we can bear with His help.

Dr. Sproul offers solid biblical counsel and comfort for those undergoing suffering and for tho

Life is full of hardship; however, in his book Surprised by Suffering, Dr. R. C. Sproul explains that the obstacles we overcome are divine vocations designed by God for our ultimate good. Although many Christians view suffering as a stumbling block or a threat from Satan, Sproul argues that suffering is a pathway to redemption. Paraphrasing this idea, 2 Timothy 2:11 says: “If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him.” According to Sproul, the church is called to be the literal body of Christ, suffering with him to be redeemed with him.

Throughout the book, Sproul interprets Scripture and employs thought-provoking examples to illustrate his ideas. In a series of personal anecdotes, he explains that he learned the necessity of trusting Christ when his terminally-ill father taught him how to die. Since then, Sproul has seen suffering in perspective to God’s plan, understanding that the afflictions faced in this world cannot be compared to the blessings of eternity.

Senior minister of preaching and teaching at Saint Andrew’s church in Sanford, Florida, he has authored more than seventy books. Sproul is also the founder and chairman of Ligonier Ministries, and he hosts a daily radio program called Renewing Your Mind.

Using personal experiences and observations as a springboard for biblical interpretation, Sproul testifies to the power of hope amidst hardship – even death. His book is divided into two sections. “Part One: Unto Death” is about understanding the purpose of suffering and persevering in times of trial. “Part Two: After Death” focuses primarily on Heaven’s existence and significance. At the end of the book, Sproul addresses other commonly asked questions about suffering in a brief question and answer section.

Overall, Surprised by Suffering is a book of condolence. As a biblical scholar, Sproul relies heavily on Scripture to develop his ideas, and he uses modern examples to clarify complex concepts. With an appropriate balance of serious stories and humorous commentary, he presents an inspiring interpretation of difficult circumstances, and brings up several issues that would be good for small group discussion. Therefore, I would recommend this book to teens and adults of all ages who would like a better understanding of suffering from a biblical standpoint. – Kara Hackett,

Product Reviews

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  1. contemplativereflections
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Book Review: Surprised by Suffering
    November 1, 2015
    Quality: 0
    Value: 0
    Meets Expectations: 0
    In "Surprised by Suffering," R.C. Sproul attempts to construct for readers a Christian perspective of suffering and death. Sproul takes effort to discuss and answer many common philosophical arguments that people bring up on the topic of suffering. The book is divided into two parts with the first addressing suffering before death and the second in regards to death and the afterlife. In the first part, Sproul establishes that suffering is a natural and necessary part of the Christian life. As followers of Christ, we are reminded that we will experience many sufferings during our lifetime. However, these trials are meant to grow and mature our faith as we learn to lean on Christ for all our needs. Sproul encourages readers to understand that no matter how difficult or harsh our lives become, Christians have two sources of comfort. The first is the sovereignty and goodness of God. We may never completely comprehend how a good God can allow evil to occur in our daily lives. However, the Bible is clear that God is both good and sovereign thus whatever happens to us is by His divine will and to His glory. The second source of comfort is Jesus Christ who sympathizes with us as He experienced the utmost pain and suffering in His earthly ministry. Moreover, Christ is not only the suffering Servant but also the triumphant King who will return and establish His kingdom, a place void of all pain, tears, and death. Thus, though we experience suffering in our earthly lives, we can gain comfort that we have a powerful, sovereign God and a loving, merciful Saviour. In the second half of the book, Sproul shifts his focus to discuss heaven and eternity. Perhaps the author's doing so may point to the fact that we often focus too much on our present temporary circumstances. Indeed, the suffering that we feel now may seem like it will last forever but Sproul reminds us that our life on earth is infinitesimally short when compared with the everlasting life that we will enjoy in heaven. In our resurrected bodies, we will no longer need to worry about parting with our loved ones or gradually losing our mental and physical faculties as we age. Christians need not be disheartened by the setbacks and tragedies in this life as we anticipate the future glory and heavenly bliss in the next.

    I would recommend this book to Christians who may feel overwhelmed by the suffering that they may be encountering. This book was helpful to me as it provided a solid biblical perspective on how Christians should view suffering and death. Sproul offers a well-balanced approach that focuses on God's sovereignty, justice, and love. Moreover, "Surprised by Suffering" is not so much a manual on how to handle suffering but a call for all to take hold of the gospel. Only those who have put their faith in Jesus and have God as their Father can enjoy the comforts and assurance that Sproul details throughout the book. No matter what tragedies or chaos we may encounter in life, we are firmly anchored in the hope that is found in Jesus Christ who has secured all heavenly blessings for us. If we know Christ, we can cherish the grace, love, and peace that we experience as the beloved children of God. Furthermore, we can look forward to our heavenly home in which there will be no longer be any death, pain, or suffering.

    In compliance with Federal Trade Commission guidelines, I received a review copy from Reformation Trust of the book in exchange for a book review.
  2. Ben Umnus
    Age: 18-24
    Gender: male
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Suffering through death and its trials
    March 28, 2011
    Ben Umnus
    Age: 18-24
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 3
    Prior to reading this I wanted to learn more about suffering, be able to explain to others the concept of and purpose for it, and to understand how to handle that suffering when facing it head on. I had a desire to grow and learn spiritually, so I chose to read two books concerning this subject and one of those books was Surprised by Suffering. I enjoyed reading another book by Dr. Sproul earlier this year. I have also enjoyed listening to his podcast on occasion too. From those experiences, I figured Dr. R.C. Sproul would provide some valuable insight... Although I certainly learned from this read, I feel this book should have been renamed Surprised by Death or Enduring Death and its Trials of Suffering instead.

    Dr. Sproul dives into death's devastating effects on humanity, animals, the planet, friends, families, and especially the dying person themselves. He also speaks of what those who are in Christ can look forward to after death. I found interesting the brief discussion of the Biblical and Philosophical aspects of the after life. And I really liked reading his Questions and Answers section too; very informative. Surprised by Suffering is a certainly a book which speaks about suffering, however I found its primary focus was towards the suffering unleashed by death. Although I feel the title is slightly misleading and some of the philosophical talk was a little dry, what this book teaches is applicable towards other forms of suffering too.

    Disclaimer: Ben Umnus was given a free copy of this book by Reformation Trust Publishing, but he was neither paid for his review nor was he commanded by Reformation Trust Publishing to write a positive review. This review is the personal, written opinion of Ben Umnus. This disclaimer is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255> : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
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