As we walk through life, the painful reality of suffering becomes something we all experience. Tears, despair and hurt are commonplace in a broken world. So how do we even contemplate singing at a time like this?
The writers of Psalm 44 were faithful men who were nearly overwhelmed by the pain of suffering. Why would God let them suffer so terribly yet undeservedly?
John Hindley takes us carefully through the psalm teaching that ‘God has sent our suffering for his sake. Suffering is not a mark of God’s indifference towards us, or his hatred of us. Suffering is a mark of his love for us. It shows that we are his.’ We have a Saviour who is familiar with suffering, and we must run to him not from him.
The storm can be troubling and dark, but this psalm will show you that even in the midst of the darkest times, God is working and you can trust and worship him.
Suffering can be terrible, it comes to us all to one degree or another and it comes from the hand of a loving, all–powerful God. But why would he appear to reject his people? Hindley doesn’t claim to be an expert on suffering, but takes us to the real testimony of the sons of Korah in Psalm 44, who managed to praise their God whilst looking their pain full in the face and asking hard questions. This book is a powerful reminder that God’s people share in the sufferings of the Son he loves and suffer for his sake, with the goal of eternal glory. There is nothing trivial about your suffering or your questions, and there is nothing trivial about the answers this short book offers you. It may even enable you, with a quivering voice, to sing in your suffering.
Although a small book, ‘Suffering and Singing’ is a powerful, sensitive and insightful examination of the pain and reality of suffering. Hindley carefully, and with great empathy, considers the real agonies that come with knowing God to be powerful enough to stop our pain but still allowing suffering in so many different ways. Rather than offering an apologetic that addresses theological concepts and questions, Hindley walks his reader through psalm 44 as a means of considering our good God who allows his people to go through trials. I love the way that Hindley handles the Bible in this book. He is careful to give us the context into which psalm 44 was written, and so we are able to see how these words written centuries previously can offer truth and comfort for us now. While helping us understand the original writer’s situation, Hindley never loses touch with the confusing and painful realities of what it is to suffer now. I really appreciated his genuine and gentle tone throughout the book that showed he really does understand what it is to suffer and wrestle with God’s sovereignty in the midst of it all. While being primarily a book for Christians, Hindley gives us gospel clarity and calls us to run to King Jesus – whether we are believers or not. Questions that arise from the difficulty of why God allows us to suffer are met with wonderful assurances of it all being a testimony to God’s unchanging love for his people. Hindley is presenting truths that are difficult to accept and which we can struggle to believe, but as he persuades us from the Bible and points us towards our suffering saviour Jesus Christ, we come to love that God is ‘with us, behind us and before us’. A brilliant book that I wouldn’t hesitate to give to believing friends, but also to the unbeliever who wants to understand how a Christian can trust God amidst terrible trials. I think this is the most sensitive handling of the topic I have come across. It is wonderfully anchored in the truths of psalm 44 and HIndley’s careful and eloquent style brings great clarity and comfort.
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