Companions in Suffering
2020 The Gospel Coalition Book Award - Christian Living
Have you experienced an ongoing trial that left you wrung out emotionally? Do you feel alone in your pain?
Though suffering often leaves us feeling isolated, God invites us into the community of the Trinity and offers us many companions in Scripture. We experience loneliness alongside the exiled Israelites. We journey with David as he pleads to God for rescue. With Asaph we confess our unbelief. With Job we learn to lament. With Mary and Martha we learn to wait.
In God's community, there is sweet fellowship, even in the hardest of circumstances. Journey in these pages with Wendy Alsup through her story of suffering, and more importantly, with the God who walks with us in the wilderness.
This warm and contemplative book also includes a helpful appendix for those who companion a suffering loved one.
"Companions in Suffering is an honest, clear, biblical, practical, and wise book, speaking to many of the issues we wrestle with most. If you are suffering, Wendy Alsup will be an open and encouraging companion."
"No one who is really suffering is interested in trite answers or simple formulas; we want something substantive. We want to hear from someone who has been there and is honest about the pain but offers genuine insight into what it looks like to persevere through the pain. That's what Wendy Alsup does in this book. While it's personal, it isn't personality-driven or all about her personal story, though her personal story gives her writing credibility. Instead, this book is saturated with insight into Scripture, presenting meaty truths that make a difference, helping to make sense of and bring peace and rest in the midst of the lowest days and the hardest things."
"Shaped by a deep commitment to sound theology, refined in the crucible of loss and pain, Wendy Alsup writes with insight and faithfulness about a subject few of us would choose to explore, though most of us will experience at some point in our lives. Companions in Suffering is at once a deeply personal book and one with wide application as Alsup masterfully weaves her own story with sound scriptural application. She doesn't offer easy answers but something far richer: compassion and companionship for those journeying with someone who is suffering or for those walking through the valley of the shadow in their own lives."
"Few things are more isolating for a person than suffering, and that isolation only compounds the pain that suffering brings upon a person. Wendy Alsup understands this pain well and has given us all a gift in the midst of her suffering. Through her own narrative, the stories of others, and the testimony of Scripture, Wendy reminds us that we truly are never alone in our suffering. This book is a gift for anyone who is stuck in a deep valley, because Wendy understands that the valley doesn't always have an exit point. And instead of showing us the path out, she gives us the Christ within—the same Christ who has met her in her dark valley. Wendy has been a gift to me personally for a while now, and I am excited for others to experience that same comfort through her words."
"Companions in Suffering is filled with encouragement from a fellow companion who knows Christ and the power of His resurrection, because she has shared deeply in the fellowship of his suffering. This stewardship of her suffering offers the life-giving help and hope that only Christ can bring."
"Wendy welcomes us into her tent of suffering, encouraging us to enter into others' tents and welcome them into ours. She doesn't do so with empty platitudes or false promises but with the hope of the gospel and the truth of Scripture. In your own sufferings, be comforted by God through Wendy's witness."
"This is recommended reading. Here is a book filled with both exegesis and examples of pain and patience, of sorrow and rejoicing. Through the use of personal pictures and biblical reflections, Wendy Alsup offers all of us the way forward in the midst of suffering. There are no easy fixes here or trite comforts, but there is a steady stream of personal, sympathetic anecdotes and Christ-centered encouragements. Suffering can be lonesome, but Wendy reminds us that we never really suffer alone. Jesus Christ was a man of sorrows and thus sympathizes with our sorrows as well. If you or someone you know is suffering, allow Wendy to come alongside and help you see Jesus again."
"Author Wendy Alsup has a gift for you. It's a refreshingly honest look at how hard life can be set against the backdrop of the gospel. She takes readers on a survey of the hurts of her own life and frames human pain with biblical hope."
"Alsup’s purpose is to walk alongside those living with emotional or physical pain or suffering by providing encouragement and direction, partly from personal insights but primarily through scripture. . . . People interested in theodicy and readers who live with chronic pain, or work with those experiencing it, will find this meditative book helpful."
Foreword by Trillia J. Newbell
1 On the Outside Looking In
2 Our Suffering Savior
3 Fellowship of the Suffering
4 Pleading for Rescue
5 Help My Unbelief
6 Ambiguous Loss
7 Learning to Lament
8 Finding Rest
9 Waiting on Jesus
10 Fellowship with the Cloud of Witnesses
11 Fellowship with the Rock
Conclusion: Limping Forward
Appendix: Offering Companionship to the Suffering