Glimmers of Grace: A Doctor's Reflections on Faith, Suffering, and the Goodness of God
Glimpses of God’s Grace in the Hospital Room
If you’ve ever spent time in a hospital, you know that it can be a place of struggles and hardships. These hardships aren’t limited to physical problems; often when our bodies are in pain, our spiritual lives can suffer too.
Former trauma surgeon Dr. Kathryn Butler experienced this firsthand as she walked alongside patients, colleagues, and friends through various illnesses and aching loss. In Glimmers of Grace, Butler draws from this experience to guide believers through the deep questions of God’s trustworthiness in the midst of suffering. Blending memoir and devotional reflections, Butler interweaves her own stories of grace with narratives from Scripture to reveal how God’s steadfast love endures even in times of great affliction.
“Being a physician and caring for critically ill patients is not always fun, but it challenges our basic life assumptions and stretches us to be fuller persons. Reading Glimmers of Grace will teach you some medicine, but even more, it will model how to reflect on the difficulties of life by meditating on Scripture. In beautiful, almost poetic prose, Dr. Butler shares her thoughts on life in the hospital―its struggles, tragedies, and victories. Read this book slowly and pray that God will use it to transform you, helping you see your own challenges in light of Scripture. He will!”
―John Dunlop, MD, Internal Medicine, Geriatrics, Yale School of Medicine; author, Finishing Well to the Glory of God
“As a father of two sons in the medical field and as a pastor who’s tried to help people learn to lament, I’m thankful for Glimmers of Grace. It’s a rare glimpse into both the spiritual struggles of being a surgeon and how to think biblically through relentless tragedy. Honest, candid, and hopeful, this book demonstrates how to embrace scriptural truth while living in a fallen world. Glimmers of Grace is not just for doctors and nurses―it’s for anyone learning to trust God through suffering.”
―Mark Vroegop, Lead Pastor, College Park Church, Indianapolis, Indiana; author, Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy and Weep with Me
“This book combines the two qualities so often missing from our culture’s approach to suffering and death: brutal honesty and resilient hope. That’s because Butler writes from unique experience in the valley of the shadow of death. And she writes of the God whose rod and staff are our only comfort.”
―Matt McCullough, Pastor, Edgefield Church, Nashville, Tennessee; author, Remember Death: The Surprising Path to Living Hope
“In the heartrending theater of trauma medicine, Kathryn Butler discovers parables and signs pointing to the God who loves, suffers, and heals. This book is for all who will suffer injury, illness, and death, including their clinicians. May we have ears to hear and eyes to see.”
―Farr Curlin, MD, Josiah Trent Professor of Medical Humanities; Codirector, Theology, Medicine, and Culture Initiative, Duke University
“Gritty and grace-filled, this book offers much-needed perspective on suffering. As a trauma surgeon, Kathryn Butler has walked with the grieving, wrestling with the tension between the goodness of God and the reality of life in this broken world. Her honest questions as she learned to lean on God’s word and trust his character will make Glimmers of Grace a blessing to many.”
―Vaneetha Rendall Risner, author, Walking Through Fire: A Memoir of Loss and Redemption
“We spend our hardest moments in hospitals, whether with family or friends or in the bed ourselves. How many have here lost the faith they thought they had―or found the Christ they never expected? Kathryn Butler has walked these floors, performed the surgeries, delivered the worst news, and watched patients die―not only as a doctor but also as a Christian. She, of course, is not the only one, but what is rare is her heart and ability to communicate what she’s learned to others. Many doctors have had these experiences, fewer have had them as Christians, and fewer still have been willing to write about them and been able to do so with such skill. It’s only a matter of time until you find yourself in a hospital again. Will you be ready to lean on God’s word for the particular ways he meets us in illness?”
―David Mathis, Senior Teacher and Executive Editor, desiringGod.org; Pastor, Cities Church, Saint Paul, Minnesota; author, Habits of Grace
About the Author
Kathryn Butler (MD, Columbia University) trained in surgery and critical care at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, where she then joined the faculty. She left clinical practice in 2016 to homeschool her children, and now writes regularly for desiringGod.org and the Gospel Coalition on topics such as faith, medicine, and shepherding kids in the gospel.