Book Review: Torn to Heal– God’s purpose in suffering by Mike Leake

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‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

–      Laura Story; Blessings

“Why is this happening to me?” This is a question that seems almost cliché’, and yet we don’t think of it that way. Perhaps it is because we have seen tragedy in the lives of our friends and family, or in our own lives, and with each new trail comes a fresh reminder that things are not as they should be.  Pastor and Author Mike has written a book titled Torn to Heal– God’s purpose in suffering which deals with this question from a biblical perspective.

Mike shares with his readers the theology behind suffering, trumpeting GOD’s sovereignty in all things, and yet he avoids writing in a cold or academic manner. He explains that while GOD is not evil and does not do any evil, he often times allows things to happen in the lives of his children which seem harmful to them, but will ultimately work out for their good. He works off of the following basic tenets of the theology behind suffering:

  1. God is not evil and does not do evil.
  2. God is executing his long-term plan to eradicate all evil.
  3. God is sovereign, and everything that happens comes from his hand (whether directly or indirectly).
  4. As autonomous human beings we are personally responsible for our own evil acts (that is, we cannot evade responsibility for our actions by claiming they were caused by God, Satan, circumstances, our past, our limitations, or other people).
  5. God ultimately does all things for his glory.
  6. God is ever working all things together for the greatest good of his adopted children (and this redounds to his glory).
  7. Ultimately, our greatest good is conformity to Christ, which gives us the capacity for an eternal enjoyment of God himself.”

Torn to Heal is biblically based and gives a reasonable perspective. Mike does not seek to answer why any specific evil was allowed to happen, but instead he asserts that the bible teaches that GOD is for his children and that all that he does or allows to occur in his sovereignty is for the betterment of their spiritual lives, drawing us closer to his Son.

Leake’s argument reminds me of a Derek Webb song called “Me” where Derek writes, [I’ve been thinking about] “why bad things happen to good folks, and age old questions; but more about why good things happen at all, and why I don’t notice them.” Leake puts it like this:

“Prayer that flows from a gospel-informed theology of suffering will be real with the hurts and pain of life in a fallen world. It will be as gritty as the psalmist’s cries, yet as stead­fast as Job, who said, “Though he slay me, I will hope in him” (Job 13:15a). Instead of al­ways praying, “Lord, take this illness away,” our prayers will be transformed into, “Lord, use this for your glory. If you are glorified through my healing, then so be it. If you are glorified through my patiently enduring through this trial, then may you be praised”

I enjoyed this book. If you have suffered, know someone suffering, or are someone who will eventually suffer (so, that’s everybody) you should know what GOD wants for you when you suffer. This book is a good start to that end because it points you back to the best book of all–GOD’s word.

Mike Leake (@mikeleake) is the author of  Torn to Heal: God’s Good Purpose in SufferingHe lives in Jasper, Indiana with his wife, Nikki, and their two children. There he serves as an associate pastor at First Baptist Jasper. You can follow his blog at http://mikeleake.net.

Disclaimer: I did not receive this book for free, or anything else for that matter. I bought the book and enjoyed it, and so I commend it to you. However, I will never turn down a free book. Do you hear me cruciform press?  😉

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