Thursday, March 26, 2020

"When Pain is Real and God Seems Silent" - Ligon Duncan

"When Pain Is Real and God Seems Silent: Finding Hope in the Psalms" is a breezy, rhythmic read based upon Psalms 88 and 89 that explores how these particular psalms empower and encourage Christians to endure suffering faithfully and to trust God during these hard times. 

Utilizing brief meditations, Duncan points to hope in the midst of the pain and when such pain leads to feeling abandoned by God. Duncan asserts through his examination that it is possible to experience both that sense of abandonment and comfort through turning to Christ and maintaining one's faith. 

Ligon Duncan is chancellor of Reformed Theological Seminary and my interest in this collection came from seeing a quote of testimony from Mark Vroegop of Indianapolis's College Park Church, a congregation not far from my Indy home. 

In this book of less than 100 pages, Duncan eloquently explores what he seems to regard as basic yet simple truths and how these truths can be applied within a Christian's life - Christians are most certainly not exempt from suffering, what it looks like to live for God in the midst of suffering, how to suffer with hope, specific doctrines that sustain believers in suffering, and how the individual and corporate suffering that comes alive in Psalms 88 and 89 leads, ultimately, to the suffering of Christ. 

As someone who has difficulty with the idea of a "plucking" God, or perhaps better put the idea of a God who puts people into or pulls people out of suffering, I struggled somewhat with certain aspects of Duncan's theological position yet I appreciated his thoughtful and insightful examination, pastoral care in wording and expression, scriptural exegesis, and ability to apply his teachings to everyday life. 

"When Pain Is Real and God Seems Silent: Finding Hope in the Psalms" is a publication of Crossway , a not-for-profit publishing house founded in 1938 that publishes gospel-centered, Bible-centered content and is the global publisher of the English Standard Version of the Bible. Duncan's brief yet informative publication is a fine addition to their literary catalogue.

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