The title says it all -The Call to Joy & Pain is a call to take up at the same time two gifts from the Lord, joy and pain. The author Ajith Fernando is eminently qualified to present this study. He is the national director of Youth for Christ in war-torn, disaster ridden Sri Lanka. Also, he ministers to the urban poor of his country. Opening with Colossians 1:24-29, "I rejoice in my sufferings...", Fernando explains that today’s church is interested in a therapy of suffering but he has found that what we need is a theology of suffering - we must learn to joyfully face the cross.
The Call to Joy & Pain message has four parts: Suffering and Joy are Basic to Christianity; Suffering Brings Us Nearer to Christ; Our Suffering Helps the Church; and, Servants of the Church. This is not a message for the faint of heart comfort lover. This is the "meat" of the Word, as the Apostle Paul would put it, and needs a reader willing to follow the Holy Spirit’s leading. “…we must not miss the demonstration of unflinching belief in the sovereignty of God that looks at every trial in a positive light.” (pg. 50).
With many illustrations from the author’s own life, and from other Christians past and present, this is a clear, incisive presentation, with a strong reliance on Scripture. The Call to Joy & Pain is interesting and easy to read, providing much food for meditation, devotion, and worship. It has definitely helped my personal Christian growth. I believe readers will find it useful for both personal reading and for group use.
Review by Donna Eggett, Christian Book Previews.com
Joy and pain are both aspects of the call of God for the Christian. The Bible even presents pain as a trigger for joy. The Call to Joy and Pain explores how this is so, showing the connection between rejoicing and suffering, how suffering draws us nearer to God, and how suffering makes us more effective in service.
Ministerial veteran Ajith Fernando combines biblical exposition, keen pastoral insight, and cross-cultural wisdom in his writing. He opens readers’ eyes to a truth they may already suspect: we in the West have much to learn about suffering.
By examining Paul’s words on the subject of suffering for Christ from Colossians 1:24-29, Fernando thoughtfully explains how suffering can be a blessing to the individual Christian and to the church as a whole. His book will help Christians joyfully embrace the life of service and total devotion to Jesus, despite the pain it entails.