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Hope Through Suffering

Pastor Brady Boyd's book entitled Fear No Evil: A Test of Faith, a Courageous Church, and an Unfailing God is quite a tremendous work. Boyd, pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, the place of a gunman entering and killing people, has written here of his experience with tragedy and the hope that God does not leave his people. The tragic events were preceded by the scandal of Ted Haggard prior to Brady Boyd's coming on board.

One of the best chapters of the book is Boyd's chapter entitled Disney Doesn't Do Christianity. Boyd intimates early on that a Christianity that offers all that you could possibly want with no cost is just the type of belief system that Christianity is not. Rather, as Boyd says, "But as I mentioned earlier, suffering is what we were promised, both by Jesus and by the apostle Paul" (107). Rather than shirking from the possibility of suffering, Christianity is bound up with the idea that suffering is part of the promise as we believe in Jesus Christ and offer our lives in service to Him. Boyd is quick to assert that suffering is not an option, just look at the life of our suffering Savior. Yet, Boyd does not consider suffering grief as just something we magically get over. He says later on that, "As human beings, you and I both have to learn to confront pain-to acknowledge it and to grieve" (113). Sorrow can eventually lead healing, but this is not before the process of grief and acknowledgement exist. The road of suffering is marked with hard times and tragic feelings, but is not the final word in the Christian life.

Overall, I thought this book was a very good glimpse into the life of a church which was rocked by tragedy (more than one) and was able to deal with the pain. Striking in the book is the part in which Brady goes off to meditate about ministry and life and comes back with a fresh idea. He calls together both the gunmans parents the parents of the girls he killed. He facilitated a time of talking about their children, how they grew up, how they loved them. Then he led them through the events of that day in the church and the actions that took place. Shocking to say the least, this part was very hard to imagine. Yet, it reveals the gritty character of Christianity not to allow unforgiveness, pain, and anger wade inside a person forever, but to be laid before God and others.

Many will find this book and its story as a powerful reminder that tragedy and suffering are not isolated to a few people, but come to each of us. More than that, the church is called upon to deal with great suffering through an even greater Savior. I hope this book encourages other that living through great suffering is possible, even if they don't initially see it that way.

Thanks to Zondervan for the review copy of this book.


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