[Book Review] To Those Who Suffer: Understanding God’s purpose and pathway through pain by Sean Nolan

Posted 9 July, 2010 by Molly(Cover To Cover Cafe) in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

About the Book:
We often hold out for God to alleviate our circumstantial suffering or pain. But what about those who suffer and fall between the cracks of conventional Christian teaching? Those that don’t have that luxury to have the horrific circumstance removed or reversed that has caused their hardship? These people aren’t able to hold out hope that the Lord will alleviate their circumstances because their circumstances are not transformable within the rules of life that the Lord has set up. The Lord will not reasonably reattach the legs of a person who has had both of their legs amputated, nor will God bring a women’s husband of fifty years back from the dead: so does this mean that these people have no hope? The answer to this question is there is hope! There is a solution to suffering that doesn’t depend on the transformation or relief of our circumstances. 

“To Those Who Suffer” proves that the Lord’s hope is not primarily found in the relief of our condition but in the actions of Christ on the Cross. The Lord will come through for us even if He doesn’t change our circumstances. This doesn’t mean that there isn’t circumstantial blessing and relief to be had in our lives. It simply means that such things are a secondary solution to our suffering compared to the spiritual solution that our Savior sends to all who seek to understand suffering from His standpoint. 

This truth is best displayed by the actions of Christ at the Cross. If Jesus had the circumstantial pain that He was in immediately alleviated, then the greatest gift and most wonderful thing that the world has ever seen would not have come to pass. The same is true for us. “To Those Who Suffer” helps you to understand that the Lord is not ‘short changing’ you by allowing pain and suffering in your life. The best and most wonderful thing that the Lord brings to pass in the lives of His children is not the protection of their personal pleasure but the process of being conformed into the image of His Son.

In Chapter 10 author Sean Nolan explains that Paul understood that the highest calling and greatest gift God gives to His children is not comfortable circumstances but a Christ-like character. Paul realized that suffering fueled and propelled his relationship with God. Through this he came to understand something more fulfilling and valuable than a pain free existence. Paul learned that his physical pain had produced spiritual prosperity. He may have been suffering in his physical earthly circumstances but he was abounding spiritually. His relationship with the Lord had flourished and he had an abundance of Christ-like characteristics that had been cultivated through the removal of his comfort. 

It is the purpose of this book to help you understand that the Lord takes the same tree and changes its fruit. Instead of suffering giving birth to misery, despondency, anger, hate and pain, the Lord prunes and works in our lives so that we bear different fruit from the same tree or circumstances. Instead of negative bitter fruit, our suffering can yield fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. The Lord may not bring relief of your pain but instead He’ll use it as a breeding ground for Godly character traits such as: love, joy and purpose. 

It is the message of the Cross, and the message of this book to “To Those Who Suffer,” that a seemingly hopeless circumstance can give birth to the most powerful victory and wonderful blessing!

About the Author:

 Sean Nolan, twenty-eight, was the youngest elected member of the executive branch of a local Christian political party in Sydney, Australia. Nolan resigned last year, but using his political experience he lobbies on behalf of abused children and consults to national leaders at a federal and state level for the development of Christian care in government.
Having completed his theological studies at Emmaus Bible College, Nolan spent many years in youth ministry before joining Glorious Hope Baptist Church in Sydney as an ordained minister. Working with this eight-year-old church plant that reaches out to the most marginalized in the community, Nolan ministers to those he has a passion for—the deeply suffering—and provides pastoral care to people trapped in extreme cycles of abuse and dependency. As a primary home caregiver for both his parents, the author has an intimate understanding of living with pain and is working to develop resources including social media tools to minister to those who are hurting.
Nolan lives in Sydney, Australia with his parents. He is soon to be married and enjoys rugby, cricket, and sci-fi. To Those Who Suffer is Sean Nolan’s first book. 

My Review:
I do not have an illness, but when the opportunity to review this book arose, I took it. In my mind, you don’t have to have an illness to be suffering and in pain and in need of God and His love. There is all kinds of pain and suffering in the world today. This book is full of Sean Nolan’s kind and compassionate words as he uses scripture verses and an understanding that God can help you overcome the pain and suffering of anything.

I really think this book is worthy of 4 stars. A I said above, I don’t have an illness, but I benefited from it just the same. I have a deeper understanding of God’s will and His love for me even in the most difficult of times. Please, no matter what your suffering from, give this amazing book by Sean Nolan a chance! You will benefit from it, too!  

*A copy of this book was provided for review by the B&B Media Group*



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