Monday, November 28, 2016

Book Review: Found Faithful

Found Faithful was another book I selected after searching for books on the redemption of pain and suffering. Elizabeth Skoglund has gathered together stories for miniature biographies of eighteen famous Christian figures. Ten are treated with small vignettes and eight of the more prominent Christians are highlighted in whole chapters (people like Charles Spurgeon, Amy Carmichael, C.S. Lewis and Ruth Bell Graham).

If ever there was evidence that faith can flicker on despite trials and discouragement, the lives of these individuals provide some of the best. Again and again, despite great difficulties, these Christian giants chose to cling to God in spite of circumstances that could break anyone. I jotted down a few noteworthy quotes to chew on while writing my current novel.

Amy Carmichael wrote, "Trials are not 'chastisement.' No earthly father goes on chastising a loving child. That is a common thought about suffering, but I am quite sure that it is a wrong thought.... They are battle wounds. They are signs of high confidence - honors."

In the chapter on Spurgeon, the author quoted him as saying, "It is not the trouble, but the hiding of our Father's face, which cuts us to the quick.... It is only felt affliction which can become blest affliction. If we are carried in the arms of God over every stream, where would be the trial and where the experience which trouble is meant to teach us?"

C.S. Lewis himself doubted that he would recover from the pain of losing his wife, Joy. He wrote:

"Getting over it so soon? But the words are ambiguous. To say the patient is getting over it after an operation for appendicitis is one thing; after he's had his leg off it is quite another.... If it heals, the fierce, continuous pain will stop. Presently he'll get back his strength and be able to stump about on his wooden leg. He has 'got over it.' But he will probably have recurrent pains in the stump all his life, and ... he will always be a one-legged man. There will be hardly any moment when he forgets it. Bathing, dressing, sitting down and getting up again, even lying in bed, will all be different. His whole way of life will be changed.... At present I am learning to get about on crutches. Perhaps I shall presently be given a wooden leg. But I shall never be a biped again."

The author reminds the reader of Christ's following God's will, saying "It cost him blood." Thus, the cloud of witnesses revealed in Skoglund's book remind a Christian of a very important fact - we are evidence to on-lookers when we react to the trials that life places in our paths. They see our faith tested and watch carefully to see how we respond. It might cost us dearly, but if God is our "reference point" (as He was in the life of Ruth Bell Graham) then we can and will weather whatever storm comes our way. Ours is the opportunity to join this group of faithful saints.

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