Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Summation of the Glorious Ruin

I hope you've benefited from the quotes I've posted over the past few weeks from Tullian Tchvidjian's new book Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free. You can search this blog for the tag/label "Glorious Ruin" to find all the quotes.

As of now I'd list this book as one of the top 5 I've read in the past few years. I suspect I'll be re-reading it many times in order to absorb everything he says. I do not mean that it is a hard read - it's not. I mean that the content is such that it must be digested over time and used to evaluate my personal life experiences. I suspect you would find the same.

Here is the key thought from my first read through of the book.

Most books about suffering focus on the "Why" question (why must I suffer?) and/or the "How" question (how can I grow from or benefit from my suffering?).  Tullian moves past both of those to the more important "Who" question. From Martin Luther's "Theology of the Cross" he points out that God is most revealed in suffering, because He is a God who saves us through His own vicarious suffering on the Cross of Christ. We prefer a "Theology of Glory" - where God always and only blesses and prospers us. The Cross, however, reveals that the place of pain is the place were God is most clearly revealed in Scripture and life experience and where He is most truly known. Although the author of the Book of Job tells us why Job suffered. Job was never given that answer. He was never told "Why." His "friends" spent all those chapters moralizing his suffering (If you were good you would not suffer) and minimizing it (Just get over it). Job's only answer, all that he was given,  was a revelation of Who - the one true eternal God whom he met in his suffering. That revelation made him a "glorious ruin." That answer was enough.

"I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear,
but now my eye sees you;
therefore I despise myself,
and repent in dust and ashes.”
                 (Job 42:5-6 ESV)

The gospel enables us to escape from the prison of How and Why, and find freedom in the Who. The only answer is meeting God in Christ -and, to borrow the title to one of Tullian's other books, "Jesus + Nothing = Everything."

My brief thoughts do not do the book justice. Whether you agree with these comments or not, go read the book for yourself. I do not think that you will be disappointed.

Next on my reading and quoting list - The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears by Mark Batterson.