Kiss the Wave…Embracing God in Your Trials by David Furman is not a book that answers why there is suffering in this world. This book could’ve been called How to suffer well… and why – a great preview to the content, but far less poetic than the actual title. The title is taken from a famous Spurgeon quote “I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages.” What does it mean to ‘kiss the wave’? What does it look like? And is it even possible?
A book for everyone
Furman writes for Christians and makes the accurate assumption that each of us, at one time or another, will experience suffering. In what form and to what degree cannot be known (only the Lord knows that) but the truths and encouragement he lays out are and will be relevant, helpful and encouraging to anyone who has ever suffered, is suffering or will suffer. In short, this book is for everyone.
This is a very personal book. Furman suffers from a debilitating nerve disorder that leaves him unable to use his arms. He is very candid about his struggles with depression and other sinful responses to his condition. It lends the book a great credibility, as he doesn’t theorise or hypothesise about what suffering well should look like, but strives alongside us to suffer well by pointing us to Christ, encouraging us to lift our eyes and fix them on Him who has suffered far more than we can ever imagine.
Content that packs a punch
Furman’s writing style is clear and simple, making it a very easy, relatively quick read. But the content packs a punch! Walking the reader through the gospel, Furman unpacks the truths of who God is, what He has done (and is doing) for us and what He has promised; and then applies it to our suffering. If you let it, the truth will encourage your burdened soul. He walks through the truths and implications of the incarnation, the crucifixion and the resurrection and how they make it possible for us to embrace suffering. While Furman acknowledges there is nothing good about pain and suffering itself, it can be redeemed and used to make us more like Christ in ways that nothing else can. It is in suffering that our dearest idols are revealed and can be addressed, it is in suffering we practice our faith muscles and learn to truly trust in Christ. Weakness and suffering have always been God’s way to holiness. When we are weak we draw near to Him; when we are at our weakest, our faith in Him will bring Him glory.
Think of every influential Christian in history, think of those men and women you know personally who have had an impact on your faith and walk with Christ. They have not been the people for whom life was easy and uncomplicated. I can almost guarantee they have suffered, and have given you an example of how to suffer well. The last few chapters of this book challenges the reader not to withdraw in times of suffering but to look up and reach out, to serve God’s people in our pain and let them serve us. Furman calls us to persevere and remember this is not the end. He will bring us safely home!