Worth Reading

Celebration: A Story of Suffering and Joy

Celebration? Surely not the first word for the heavy topics of genetically caused illnesses and suffering. But the author, with excruciating honesty, tries to do justice to the truth that in life joy and suffering run together.

Maragret Spufford wrote one of the best books on suffering that I know. It's her story, and the story of her daughter, primarily. She became a reputable Cambridge historian. She did so while suffering major illness throughout her whole life – and then giving birth to a daughter with an incurable disease. Her book is an unflinchingly look at pain and suffering, and death. While it treats the intellectual problems posed by suffering to those who believe in God, the book is a clear (and deeply moving) account of her response to suffering. Not pat answers and tidy schemes, but a profound response to what life dealt to her.

It’s as commendable a book as I’ve ever read. Many in our congregation have already read it and found a great expansion in compassion, understanding, and inthe kind of responses we can make. I hope for many more.