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Suffering Wisely and Well: The Grief of Job and the Grace of God

Suffering Wisely and Well: The Grief of Job and the Grace of God

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Why Suffering Exists: God’s Purpose for Pain in the Life of Job and throughout Scripture

Why does God allow suffering? The pain of suffering can be overwhelmingly mysterious, but the Bible does provide answers. Throughout Scripture, God allows trials in order to accomplish specific purposes in the lives of his people. When faced with suffering they experience spiritual growth; repentance from sin; or, as in the Old Testament story of Job, the chance to demonstrate devotion to God in the face of inexplicable agony.

In Suffering Wisely and Well, Eric Ortlund explores different types of trials throughout Scripture, revealing the spiritual purpose for each and reassuring readers with God’s promise of restoration. The majority of the book focuses on Job, one of the most well-known yet misunderstood stories of suffering. Ortlund thoughtfully analyzes the text chapter by chapter, including the doubt of Job’s friends, God’s response to Job’s questions, and the meaning behind important imagery including references to Leviathan and Behemoth. Suffering Wisely and Well shows readers how to deepen their relationship with God during painful experiences in their own lives and how to comfort others who are hurting.

  • Explores Lament and Redemption in Scripture: Helps readers understand how to interpret suffering from a Christian perspective
  • Applicable: Each chapter ends with a “What Have We Learned?” summary
  • Biblical Advice on Grief and Support: Teaches Christians how to avoid blame or legalism when addressing the suffering of others


“I have lived long enough with suffering to know that it doesn’t come in ‘one size fits all.’ It is messy and confusing. Yes, God always has specific purposes for the kinds of sufferings that he sends our way, and in his remarkable book, Eric Ortlund helps us understand the various trials we encounter and what makes each so tailor-fit for us. Want to know how not to waste suffering? Here’s a book that will help you discern its character and align yourself with God’s purposes in adversity. What you have in your hands is a useful tool to help you sort through the complex and often frustrating world of affliction. I’m passing this book on to others, and I would encourage you to do the same!”
Joni Eareckson Tada, Founder and CEO, Joni and Friends International Disability Center; author, Joni: An Unforgettable Story and Songs of Suffering

“The book of Job gives us deep and inexhaustibly bewildering insights into the power and wisdom of God in Christ. I have been humbled and instructed by this fresh, scholarly, and pastoral study. Ortlund’s writing is replete with thought-provoking arguments always set in the context of an insightful love for people. I warmly recommend this book.”
Christopher Ash, Writer in Residence, Tyndale House; author, Trusting God in the Darkness and Job: The Wisdom of the Cross

“If Job scares you, this is the book for you. If you feel you know Job so well you don’t have to read it again, this book will change your mind. If you avoid Job because the concepts are too hard, this book will help you through it. Eric Ortlund combines knowledge with wisdom and wisdom with patience as he guides us through this mysterious and meaning-filled word from our God.”
Russell Moore, Public Theologian, Christianity Today

“Suffering is a confounding matter that at some point will seemingly interrupt the plans we have for our lives. Eric Ortlund’s new book doesn’t try to explain away our suffering but helps us think through biblical categories of suffering. The first chapter on varieties of suffering is worth the price of the book. This study of the life of Job highlights that our relationship with God must be greater than anything this world has to offer, because eventually these earthly blessings will pass. Whether you are suffering or you know someone who is, pick up this book, highlight every page, and be transformed by the life-changing power of God through the book of Job.”
Dave Furman, Senior Pastor, Redeemer Church of Dubai; author, Being There and Kiss the Wave

About the Author

Eric Ortlund (PhD, University of Edinburgh) teaches at Oak Hill College in London, England. He previously taught Old Testament at Briercrest College and Seminary in Saskatchewan, Canada, for ten years. He and his wife, Erin, have two children.

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Suffering Wisely and Well: The Grief of Job and the Grace of God
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