Leroy Lawson Reviews Suffering Book

“I had already admired Lynn Gardner for decades when I read Where Is God When We  Suffer? (College Press, 2007).  I was preparing for some lectures on suffering for a retreat for furloughing missionaries, who probably know more about the subject than I do.

But not more than Gardner does. As his brother-in-law Sam Stone says in the Foreword, ‘When it comes to the topic of suffering, Lynn Gardner has earned the right to be heard.’ His brother was severely handicapped, his sister Gwen (Sam’s wife) the victim of complications from a near-fatal automobile accident. His wife, Barbara, is battling cancer. Lynn himself was rescued from a terminal illness only by a double-long transplant. And he and Barbara lost their adult son in yet another highway accident.

Through all this (and more) he has walked by faith and earned a sterling reputation for 34 years as Bible scholar, professor, and dean of Ozark Christian College in Joplin, Missouri. Few have been hit harder by life’s exigencies. No one has complained less. When he speaks about suffering, we listen.

In these pages Gardner reveals the source of his strength. He shares enough of his and his family’s trials to establish his credentials, but his focus, in chapter after chapter, is on scriptural reasons for hope in spite of hurt. There’s no self-pity here, no dwelling on life’s injustices, nor any crying out for answers to life’s imponderables. What you find is an honest facing up to reality with courage and trust.

And with concern for others The last section, ‘Helping the Hurting,’  is vintage Gardner. He draws on his personal experience to help his readers know how best to respond to other people’s heartaches, including unwitting offenses to be avoided. He’s been there. He knows.

Leroy Lawson, Christian Standard (May 17, 2009)

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