I’ve owned the book, Suffering and Death: The Saint’s Highest Calling since about a year after my dad went to heaven. I can vividly recall the first time I ever saw this book. It was lying on my brother’s desk, many years ago. We were working in the church he pastored in Hot Springs, where I often did a few secretarial jobs for him.One day, while in his office for such a reason, I saw this book. I shuddered as I read the title and avoided it like the plague! I knew where I was going when I died, but I had no desire to dwell on death – or suffering – for very long. I was only 23 years old. I had endured a few hard times, but nothing that I would have called “suffering”, and I’d never lost a close loved one to death, either. No, I was not interested in reading that book.

Years passed. I began to go through some significant valleys. The biggest was the sudden death of my dad when I was 26 years old. Two years later, darkness shrouded my life again in a trial which I am unable to share. It was between those two trials that we bought this book from our very good friend, Evangelist Tim Green. My mother had just read it, and commented on how good it was. Still, I couldn’t bring myself to read it. I thumbed through it, but that was all. I didn’t want to acknowledge suffering. It was as though if I kept thinking that life wouldn’t be hard, then it wouldn’t be.

Here I am, almost six years from that time. Trials have continued to wash onto the shore of my life. The raging waves have left me heartbroken, defeated, depressed and hopeless. I have been ashamed of myself. How could I doubt God? How could I feel that He had left me? In a tearful time of prayer, asking God to please help me, it is no coincidence that my eyes fell upon this book on my shelf. The book I shuddered to look at; the book I couldn’t bring myself to read; the book I had wished I’d never seen. I decided to read it. I started reading it a few chapters each day during my Bible time. It didn’t take long to finish, it’s only about one hundred pages. And yes, it was a blessing! It was not at all the dreaded monster that I’d made it out to be in my head. I had assumed that page one would say, “So, you’re a Christian? A servant of the Lord? Suffering is your future. Get used to it.” I was wrong. And, no, it wasn’t the first time. 😉

The book shares the testimony of the author, missionary Randy Pike. He tells how God used trials and suffering in his life to bring glory to the Lord, to direct his life’s work and to see souls saved. He hammers away at the “prosperity” preachers, revealing them for the lying charlatans that they are. Saved people are not promised a life of success, fame, riches and ease. If so, the author points out, then John the Baptist, Elijah, Peter and John the Beloved were not saved! He says that not everyone will be healed of their illnesses. Look at Elisha. He died because he was sick. The book is replete with scripture, many of which I looked up for myself. It offers hope to those of us who are suffering, a reminder that this world is not our hope, Heaven is, and it’s wonderful. He shares insight into making sense of the sufferings that we must endure, and he offers comfort from the Holy Scriptures.

I wanted to share a few of my favorite quotes from this book.

We must never conclude that we have taken the wrong path in Christian service when the storms fall suddenly upon us without warning. Oddly, that is the way God often works. Christ was there near His disciples only a few feet away! He was with them through it all. When a boat full of water (see Mark 4:37), will not sink, something wonderfully divine is about to happen.

Suffering is universal to every true child of God. If you are a servant of the living Christ, you too must be tried – as gold is tried. It is part of your divine calling. And in a majestic sense – almost sacred – somehow, God’s glory shines through His suffering, weeping saints.

Our Lord is more interested in what we are gradually becoming through our trials and sufferings, than what we presently are. The ugly, repulsive caterpillar of today, through struggle and death, becomes the beautiful butterfly of tomorrow. “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Rom. 8:18)

Though frequently very difficult to do, we are called upon to thank God “IN everything”, but not “FOR everything” unless it is “unto Himself”. 

When everything seems to indicate failure, when nothing makes sense anymore, and when our sufferings and sorrows appear to smother the promises of our Lord’s help, the Bible declares “…(God) hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Heb. 13:5) The responsibility lies squarely on Him to do this. And He will!

At no time did God rebuke Paul for such “mood swings” in his missionary experiences. He was only being normal. Beware of those “spiritual leaders” who condemn God’s people for being normal Christians.

This book, which I had feared for over ten years, was nothing to be feared. It offered me strength as I journey through my life on this Earth. It offered me the hope that God is there, even when He seems so far away. It reminded me of the beauty of life in Heaven. And, best of all, it helped me see that I’m not insane, I’m actually normal! (That alone made it worth the read!)

If you are interested in ordering this book, you may do so by visiting Tim Green Ministries. Scroll down the page until you see this book pictured and click on it.

Thanking God IN everything,

3 thoughts on “The Saint’s Highest Calling

  1. Anonymous says:

    That is a beautifully written review of this book. I think every Christian should read it, and I think I will re-read it now!


  2. I've never heard of it. Thank you for sharing!!!


  3. Robin says:

    This looks like a very good book. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia. The RA is progressive and has changed my life quite a bit – there are several things I can no longer do and my energy level is way below where it use to be. There is a small group in our church that believe that I should be healed. It is a constant source of conversation for them and somewhat of an irritation for me. My husband (a minister) and i have tried to explain that sickness and suffering is used by God in a number of ways. They refuse to believe it.

    I really enjoy your blog, Valerie. Thank you for letting God use you! Blessings!


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