Length: 294 pgs
Author: Jim Andrews
I’ve read a good number of books on suffering; Polishing God’s Monuments might be the best one. In it deep theology comes to you refined out of the fires of affliction. The big issues are not dodged, and personal experience is not lacking. In addition Jim Andrews is simply an incredible crafter of words. The book is a mixture of theology and biography. Jim Andrews tells of the unimaginable suffering of his daughter and son-in-law. The biography is not meant to outshine the theology, he uses their story to illustrate principles and glory in the truths that undergird them. If you read just one book on suffering, make it this one. The main principle of the book is that in the midst of suffering we must polish God’s monuments. We must look to our past, this includes all of redemptive history, and “polish”, that is remember our God, and that who He was, He is, and forever will be. We don’t look back to live in the past, but to anticipate the God of all grace and peace in the present.
God’s people are buffeted in two ways: sometimes we suffer for the faith and other times we suffer with faith. Either way our faith remains a work in progress.
The logic of monumental faith is simple. If God loved and cared for me in the past; if God displayed his wisdom and power for me in the past; if God in his essential and moral being is the same yesterday and today and forever; if I myself am on the same spiritual page as before when the Lord showed his glory on my behalf, then nothing in this baffling instance has changed except his secret purposes.
God has not changed, and you have not changed, but his purpose is different this time around. Be still, rest in the shade of his monuments, and wait patiently for him to finish his work. In the end he’ll be there just as he was before.
For us it has been polish or perish.
The truth is a life of suffering is a better benchmark of God’s favor than a life of surfing. God’s love is more likely to reveal itself in the presence of pain than in the absence of it.