Glorious Ruin: A Book on Suffering That Spoke to Me

There have been many times I have read classic books about faith–those by C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton–and I have hesitated.

When I read Orthodoxy, for example, I was struck at all the reasons it was a classic: it was well-written, it spoke to my heart, it was succinct and profound at the same time.

It comes as something of a surprise to my system that I’m putting book I just whipped through in that company. Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free, by Tullian Tchividjian, is as masterfully written as any of the faith classics I’ve read and as insightful.

In under 200 pages, Tchividjian unpacks suffering and deals with every objection I’ve ever had to well-meaning Christians. It follows a logical path through the writings of saints and wise Christians.

I couldn’t help but ask myself if he might be Catholic.

Turns out, he’s not, but then, neither was C.S. Lewis, and I stand to learn a lot from Lewis’s writings.

This isn’t a pansied approach to suffering or a faint way of viewing the Cross. Instead, Tchividjian looks at suffering as something we all have, even though we probably have three full meals and a place to live that’s not a cardboard box.

Throughout the text are references to the book of Job, and that’s the basis for the book, though it’s neither exhaustive nor tiresome. It made me want to curl up with Job and read it for myself, to examine how modern it reads and how Job can teach me to pray in the face of life that sucks on any level.

I barely kept myself from marking passages in this, in part because I want to reread it soon. (After I read Job, I think.)

This is a book for everyday Christians, approachable and honest. It’s a guide to keeping the end in mind and not losing focus on the Cross.

Glorious Ruin has earned a spot on my “Books to Reread” shelf, right beside my other favorite books. Highly, highly recommended.

Reviewed as part of the Patheos Book Club Roundtable.

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