Jun 16, 2010

To Those Who Suffer by Sean Nolan

In To Those Who Suffer, Nolan explains that when we suffer, we often view the situation through the human sin-stained perspective. This results in us immediately coming to the conclusion that this situation is extremely painful and, therefore, it must be wrong and not part of God’s will for our lives. However, from God’s perspective, He has allowed this suffering in our lives for a purpose, and, because God is absolutely good, His purpose for allowing the suffering in our lives must be a good one.

What we often overlook is that God’s goal for our lives is very different from ours. Nolan states that it is imperative that we understand God’s purpose for allowing mankind to encounter suffering. If we do not understand that God has done the right thing through allowing suffering into the world and our lives then we cannot expect to understand why God chooses to use suffering to conform us into the image of His Son, as opposed to a more pleasant method.


Sean Nolan lives in Sydney, Australia with his family.  Sean pastors at Glorious Hope Baptist Church which reaches out to some of the most marginalized members of the community.  Sean is a graduate of Emmaus Bible College in Sydney, and is actively involved in the political arena.  Sean enjoys rugby, cricket and sci-fi and has a passion for people in pain.


At the beginning of this book, Sean Nolan states that this book is not for everyone, but it is primarily for those who don't have the option of hoping for circumstantial relief from their suffering.  He uses examples of the impossibility of having a loved one come back to life several years after they die, or of amputated limbs being restored.

The author then goes on to say that the solution to suffering does not depend on a transformation or relief of our circumstances, but in the actions of Christ on the cross. He says that the Lord will come through for each of us, even if He doesn't change the circumstances.

The book is divided into four segments, with several chapters in each segment.
  1. Why God Does What He Does
  2. The Many Different Paths to Pain
  3. The Church versus God - The Answers We All Seek
  4. It Still Hurts
Sean Nolan quotes many scripture passages in this book, and then expounds on them.  I did not find anything in his interpretations that I disagreed with, but I must agree that this book is likely best suited for someone who is going through a period of deep suffering.

The subject of understanding God's purpose and pathway through pain is a very difficult one, and Sean Nolan has included many tidbits of wisdom in this book that can be applied to our lives.

Thank you to The B&B Media Group for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

To Those Who Suffer
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Deep River Books (May 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1935265229
ISBN-13: 978-1935265221

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