‘Suffering and Singing’ by John Hindley

‘Suffering is not a mark of God’s indifference towards us, or his hatred of us. 
Suffering is a mark of his love for us. It shows that we are his’. (chapter 6)

‘Suffering and Singing’ is short, focussed and beautifully written, by someone who gets it. 

Short – The book is only 9 short chapters that take 5-7 minutes each, so it’s easy to read on your phone while commuting, good for devotions, perfect for reading with a friend or loved one who is going through a dark valley right now.   

‘As you suffer, you begin to feel something of what Christ felt; your heart begins to beat along with his. This is where we begin to see why the Lord might give such suffering to his people, to you his child. It is a door to seeing his love for us. This is where the sons of Korah are taking us. They will frame our suffering, along with theirs, with the rough wood of a Roman cross. In that frame, the picture will begin to make sense.’ (chapter 5)

Focussed – the whole book unpacks, reflects on and applies just one Psalm, Psalm 44 – probably the darkest song of the Psalter. Have your bible open and dig deep in one Psalm for a few days, you won’t regret it. It may not be perfectly applicable to your current circumstances, but it will prepare you, because struggles will come. 

‘What if the heart of the Bible and the cosmos was about the love of God being shown in bringing suffering on the one he loves most dearly? What if the love of God is shown more clearly on a cross than a throne? What if he prepares a feast for you after he has brought you through the valley of the shadow of death?’ (chapter 7)

Beautifully written – If you are experiencing pain and despair right now, you will know the silence and isolation and the dark clouds of hopelessness that can cast a shadow over everything. John gets that, but without preaching cold, cerebral truths devoid of humanity, it feels like he draws alongside, walks with you and gently points you to the one who perfectly understands our pain and loves us beyond comprehension. 

‘What Psalm 44:22 is teaching us is that when we are suffering at the hand of the Lord, our Father is treating us like Jesus, his Son. Suffering is a mark of God’s love…But the one thing we need to know is that we do not suffer aimlessly, or at the hands of an indifferent deity…That we suffer for God’s sake transforms suffering. Paul [in Romans 8] is simply showing us that if suffering comes to us as a sign of our Father’s love, there is nothing left that can separate us from that love. (chapter 7)

‘Suffering and singing’ doesn’t specifically consider the singing of Psalm 44 and how singing songs of lament should function in the church today. It is also not a book that will offer any musician wisdom for their craft, but it will help us all to begin considering afresh the important role of lament in our lives and our congregational singing. For your own copy click here 

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