"That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings." Philippians 3:10 (ASV)
If we follow Jesus, we will experience pain. It comes with the territory. We might face hardship because of our Christian commitment, or we may have challenges just from living in a fallen world. Either way, Christians follow in the footsteps of our suffering Savior and participate in his suffering.
But that's not the whole story. Missionary Paul Borthwick and pastor Dave Ripper show in their new book The Fellowship of the Suffering:How Hardship Shapes Us for Ministry and Mission how transformation through our personal pain enables us to minister faithfully to a hurting world. They candidly share about their own struggles and how they have seen God's kingdom advance through hardship and suffering. Though we naturally avoid suffering, Christians throughout church history have become powerful witnesses to Christ as a result of their brokenness.
Life is painful, but pain need not have dominion over us. Instead, it can propel us in missional solidarity with our suffering world. Come find comfort and renewed purpose in the fellowship of the suffering.
Part 1: Welcome to the Fellowship
1. Suffering Comes with the Territory
2. The Worst Suffering: Paul's Story
3. Learning to Trust Anyway: Dave and Erin's Story
Part 2: Fellowship with Christ
4. The Sun Comes from the Dark: Prayer Through Suffering
5. Becoming the Kind of People the World Needs: Transformation Through Suffering
6. Not What I Expected: Joy Through Suffering
Part 3: Fellowship with Others
7. It's Our Family: Solidarity Through Suffering
8. Pain as Common Ground: Neighboring Through Suffering
Part 4: Fellowship with the World
9. The Seed Must Die to Multiply: Mission Through Suffering
10. Are You Really Passionate? Calling Through Suffering
"If you are like me, you tend to gloss over your suffering, thinking it unspiritual to dwell on it. The pain is like a friend whose visit you really do not want. Paul and Dave teach us the importance of sitting with this unwelcome friend, learning from him, and, in the end, being transformed. When we do, we find we have been with the Suffering Servant whose friendship graces us in the pain, bringing us what we did not expect: peace and joy. And we find ourselves strangely warmed in the company of the saints of every age."
Scott Arbeiter, president, World Relief
"Awesome book-so absolutely needed! The Fellowship of the Suffering explores the 'why' behind our suffering while presenting practical, genuine steps for converting our pain into promise. We recommend this book to anyone brave enough to consider how suffering forges uncommon faith and authentic love in a world desperate for both."
Stephan Bauman, former president and CEO of World Relief, author of Seeking Refuge and Break Open the Sky, and Belinda Bauman, founder of One Million Thumbprints, author of Brave Soul: Lessons in Love, Risk, and the Power of Empathy
"There is a deep richness that comes to people who have faced suffering biblically. A key to this richness is a joy and a contentment that tough experiences cannot take away. But many Christians do not look at suffering in this way. This book helps us to develop a theology that works in giving us the courage to look positively at suffering after experiencing the painful emotions that inevitably come with it. It does not give glib answers but faces squarely with the pain that suffering brings. This is indeed 'theology that works.' It is biblically profound, practically alive, easy for lay persons to understand, and motivational for mission and ministry. It will help nurture the kind or authentic and vibrant Christianity that we so badly need today."
Ajith Fernando, teaching director of Youth for Christ Sri Lanka, author of The Call to Joy and Pain