Suffering. Christians are not saved from it. The whole world is subject to it. Suffering may not be something that you’re going through right now, but if it hasn’t already come, it most likely will in the future. How can we find hope in the face of suffering?
Jeremy Marshall, a man who knows suffering and who knows about true hope, helps us with a daily devotional that lasts for 20 days. Marshall was diagnosed with incurable cancer five years ago and told that his death would be imminent. You can read more about Marshall’s story in his great little book “Beyond the Big C“. But back to this devotional…
In 20 short devotionals Marshall draws out the hope of the gospel and how that should impact our lives as we suffer. I like that he brings his own story of suffering throughout the book which helps you ‘live’ with the author a little bit.
Each devotional is just a few pages long and there are some good insights in this short book. My wife and I read it together for our morning devotions and it was helpful overall. One issue was that we had just finished a devotional booklet that we really liked, so anything that didn’t do a similar thing was going to be at a bit of a disadvantage.
Marshall doesn’t so much explain a passage of the Bible, but instead relates certain passages to suffering in general and his own suffering. In the grand scheme of things and the vast amount of devotional books that are out there I would say this one is okay. It’s not one that I would say you must read, but it can be a helpful. This is where is become difficult as a reviewer because the book doesn’t so much explain passages, but relates to the reader. Therefore, what I might not think is amazing, others will love. Books can be a bit subjective.
I think one thing that might have helped is having specific set readings at the outset of each devotional day. Whilst there were days where this was possible (for example; Genesis 3, Psalm 31), there were also days where some massive passages were set as the topic which was a bit optimistic (for example, reading Job in a day is not realistically going to happen). I raise this because, in my mind, a devotional booklet should push you towards reading the Bible and having it as the focus of your devotional life.
I do think that Marshall said helpful things and I appreciated how he incorporated his own testimony and experience of hope in the midst of suffering. Head over to 10ofThose and grab a copy. I’d like to hear your thoughts on the book, especially if you disagree with me 🙂
Jeremy Marshall is the former CEO of the UK’s oldest private bank, C. Hoare & Co. He was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2016.