hope and encouragement in suffering

Suffering is Never for Nothing is a transcription of some of the last lectures that Elisabeth Elliot gave before her death in 2015. Elisabeth was no stranger to suffering and walking with the Lord during difficult and challenging times: her husband, the missionary Jim Elliot, was killed by the Auca Indians of Ecuador that he tried to witness to. Years later, she remarried and her second husband died from cancer. Although others’ sufferings may be worse, Eliot is famous throughout the world for her writing and speaking on the subject of suffering.

These lectures are biographical and a lot of her time is spent on remembering her childhood and upbringing. This provides good context for her later years on the mission field and married life and loss of Jim and her second husband. Elisabeth speaks in a relaxed and casual tone, not technical but warm and conversational; this translates well to written form, making for an enjoyable read.

The informal tone does not mean light or fluffy content, however. Elisabeth’s words are God-centered, portraying Him as sustaining, providing, and comforting. “Out of the deepest waters and the hottest fires come the deepest things that I have learned about God. The greatest gifts of my life have entailed the greatest suffering. God promises to be with us in our suffering. He says, ‘I am the Lord your God.’ He is the one who loves me and gave himself for me.” Elisabeth wrestles with the deep issues of meaning and causes and purposes of suffering, as she interweaves her own life with Job, Daniel, Jesus, and many passages from the Bible.

In the end, Elisabeth tells us that suffering has meaning. “Everything that happens fits into a pattern for good. Suffering is never for nothing.” Her experiences provide hope and encouragement to everyone who suffers, from broken furnaces to severe health issues. This is a valuable book for all who suffer.

I received a free copy of this book for the purpose of review. I was not required to write a positive review.