Suffering Wisely and Well, book reviewBy Andrew Watkins
May 6, 2022
Okay, I’ll admit it—Job is probably my least favorite book in the Bible. I’m more likely to skim the long, confusing speeches in Job than I am to skim the dietary laws in Leviticus. I suspect I’m not the only one. When you think of the book of Job, chances are what comes to mind is Job’s unimaginable loss, his terrible “friends” (Seriously, they’re the worst. Don’t be like Job’s friends.), his two faith-filled declarations in Job 13:15 and 19:25, and maybe hints of dinosaurs. So what does Job have to do with your life and ministry? Enter: Eric Ortlund.
In his new book, Suffering Wisely & Well: The Grief of Job and the Grace of God, Eric Ortlund seeks to unlock the book of Job in a way that transports Job’s distant, ancient suffering to the immediacy of the pastor or counselor’s office, the small group leader’s living room sofa, and the Christian friend’s kitchen table over a cup of coffee. Where in Scripture do you turn when the bottom has fallen out in someone’s life and they’ve turned to you for help? Ortlund, an Old Testament scholar, suggests Job.
Ortlund recognizes that not everyone experiences suffering in the same manner as Job. Suffering enters the lives of Christians for a variety of reasons, so before embarking on his journey through Job, he takes the first chapter to inventory the various types of suffering Christians are prone to encounter. After all, if we are going to suffer “wisely and well,” we must at least attempt to identify the cause of our suffering so that we may respond appropriately. Needless to say, Job’s suffering was unique, though he is not alone.