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Through the Valley

Through the Valley

Biblical-Theological Reflections on Suffering

by Jeff Wisdom
Publication Date: 14/09/2011
A diagnosis of a stage IV cancer is quite a jolt for any family. This is the news that came to Jeff Wisdom, a husband and father in his mid-forties. When the diagnosis of an advanced cancer comes to a family, it can challenge faith and hope. Through the Valley is a biblical-theological reflection on suffering. It details what Scripture says about suffering and what God has promised, both now and in the future. It draws comfort and encouragement from some lessons learned. And it acknowledges and wrestles with some unresolved questions and issues. Jeff's reflections, as one who has endured cancer and chemotherapy, help to bridge Scripture's message and the experience of living with a deadly disease. Excerpts from his wife's journal are included to provide a window into this walk in a dark valley. This book does not address every aspect of the Bible's teaching on suffering, but it makes an important contribution to the topic of the suffering that comes seemingly unexplained as the result of living in a fallen world. ""I once knew someone who, when diagnosed with cancer, somehow managed to act completely unbothered by it. There was a theological 'I-trust-God' air about him but it revealed to me that stoicism isn't the way to respond to suffering. The biblical characters don't consign themselves to fate but wrestle with God because they are both passionate about life and willing to face God with their deepest desires. Jeff Wisdom's book is filled with honest doubt, genuine humility, and an open journey as he and his family faced the dread stage IV cancer. I felt like I was reading the Psalms come to life when I read this book."" --Scot McKnight Karl A. Olsson Professor in Religious Studies North Park University ""Avoid. It's our one-word theology of suffering. But, albeit grudgingly, if pressed, we would all acknowledge that suffering is both ubiquitous and constructive. In this book, Jeff Wisdom thoughtfully weaves an accurate biblical theology of suffering with his own personal agonizing experience. As a witness to his experience, he doesn't bend, sugarcoat, or trivialize the text, his experience, or the integration of the two. It won't answer all your questions, but it will increase your faith and confidence in a sovereign and loving God even when the reasons for suffering remain hidden from view. It will make you think. It will grip your heart. It is real and raw. But it is a practical theology book that is a valuable read for anyone who suffers. That means it's for you. That means it's for me."" --Steven J. Hostetter President, Oak Hills Christian College ""This is a most moving book, where the reality of suffering is faced up to not as a theoretical possibility to be handled with theological sleight-of-hand, but as a harsh and devastating reality that drains energy and strains faith to the breaking point: The honest extracts from Chris's (Jeff's wife) diary which begin and end each chapter; the way the Psalms and Paul in particular spoke to Jeff at a deeper and life-sustaining level; the lessons learned through so much pain, but learned so well. This book will be as much a challenge to those whose lives are (too?) comfortable as it will be a comfort and source of strength to those for whom suffering is all too real."" --James D. G. Dunn Emeritus Lightfoot Professor, Durham University ""Seldom do we find an opportunity to walk beside someone who is suffering, really suffering, and who, at the same time, experiences the ravages of cancer against the backdrop of God's cosmic work of redemption. Jeff's insightful reflections on God's plan for His world and people are woven into the fabric of his honest struggle against the 'thief' that had invaded his body and presented with the poignant excerpts from his wife, Chris's, diary. Together they help us understand not only what it is like to face disease and death head on, but also how we, as Christians, are to understand our suffering from the perspective of God's word, includin
Biblical studies & exegesis
Publication Date:
Wipf & Stock Publishers
Country of origin:
United States
Dimensions (mm):

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