Nov 092013 3 Responses

7 Recommended Books for When Life Hurts

Books have tremendous power. They allow us to hold in our hand the best thoughts of the best thinkers. Some books have the ability to stand the test of time, to prove themselves worthy to multiple generations.

When life hurts, our attention awakens. Pain often forces us to consider questions which we normally ignore. Suffering is often the avenue through which we learn the most about ourselves and God. This only happens as we actively seek understanding in the midst of our pain. Few things help us in the process as much as books.

Here are 7 books I recommend when life hurts:

1. A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis Many pick up this book expecting a philosophical look at pain, but A Grief Observed is a different book than most which Lewis wrote. This is a raw book written following the death of his wife. It gives a fascinating glimpse into one of the greatest minds of the last century trying to process his greatest sorrow.

2. The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis This is a classic C.S. Lewis work. Full of illustration and metaphors, Lewis brilliantly considers why God has chosen to use pain in a powerful way. Read slowly, Lewis is brilliant.

3. Disappointment with God by Philip Yancey Three questions lay at the heart of this book: Is God unfair? Is He silent? Is He hidden? Yancey is one of Christianity’s best writers and uses the tools of a journalist to discover truth.

4. The North Face of God by Ken Gire This is a more devotional read compared to the theology of Lewis and journalistic style of Yancey. Gire drives us toward an intimate relationship with God in the midst of suffering.

5. On Death and Dying by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross Grief is a natural part of life. Every person should familiarize themselves with the grief process so they can recognize the stages in themselves and in others. Ignorance of the grief process makes grief even more difficult. Grief involves far more than simply death. Job loss, broken relationships, and any circumstance which ends in an undesired way can cause grief. Knowing the stages will help the grieving process.

6. Night by Elie Wiesel The classic work from a Holocaust survivor reminds the reader their suffering is not unique. By remembering one of the greatest tragedies in human history, we are called out of the isolation of our suffering and into the greater plight of humanity.

7. Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering by Tim Keller As a rule I do not recommend books which I have not fully read, but Keller’s work is an exception. While I’m only half-way through the book, it is excellent.

Pain is a guaranteed aspect of life, yet we do not have to suffer alone. We can be joined in the midst of our suffering by some of the greatest minds of the past generations. This list is a good start.

3 Responses to 7 Recommended Books for When Life Hurts
  1. […] Everyone experiences disappointments in life. Some we can avoid, but many we cannot. Knowing how to ... kevinathompson.com/map
  2. […] Disaster of any kind, should remind us of the frailty of our lives. It should speak to our great nee... kevinathompson.com/natural-disaster
  3. […] Know there will be another day to serve others. (See: 7 Recommended Books for when Life Hurts) [R... kevinathompson.com/survive-and-advance

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