I am thrilled to present to you the cover for my next book, Spinning Crap Into Fertilizer: How American Christianity has forgotten the necessity of suffering:
When it comes to suffering, there are two kinds of people in this world…
Those who say, “Crap happens,” and those who cry out, “Why is this crap happening to me?”
“Turn that crap into fertilizer” was Sarahbeth Caplin’s father’s twist on the expression, “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” That line became a running joke between the two of them during his final months of life, as he rapidly deteriorated from cancer. David Caplin’s death prompted Beth to re-evaluate everything she thought she knew about why we suffer, if God cares, and why He seems to intervene for some people who pray for healing – but not for everyone.
At some point, it occurred to Beth how many Christians seem to pray to be spared from pain, when perhaps it would be beneficial to also pray for the tools with which to face it.
Drawing inspiration from her Jewish heritage, Beth explores the ways in which unexplained pain, disappointments, and losses can be used for redemptive purposes…if we are willing to entertain the possibility.
I am also honored to have author and blogger Traci Rhoades write the foreword for this book:
There’s a verse in Scripture that bothers me. If I’m being honest, there are several troubling verses but I have learned that’s the gift of the Bible. It invites us to know God intimately and to wrestle with him even in the difficult passages, demanding a blessing. What a great privilege, what a gift of grace, that we can wrestle with the creator of everything.
“And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he had prayed for his friends; and the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.”Job 42:10 (NRSV)
Job still suffered tremendously. His heart and his body bore scars. He lost everything dear to him. Logic doesn’t explain suffering, especially when you’re in the throes of it. Common phrases and well-intentioned Bible verses often do nothing but suck the air out of the room. The answer to “why” may never come.
I have suffered. In my early-30s, I stood beside the casket of my deceased father. There were more questions than answers. One by one, friends and family from my hometown, the people who know me best, stood before me. I remember very few words spoken. I remember instead the hugs, the tears, the presence of loved ones. I felt held, lifted up by a common grief for the man we’d all lost. I also remember the comfort I experienced every time I took a Bible in my hand and read the Psalms for weeks following the funeral.
Sarahbeth tackles a topic in this book that everyone faces – suffering. We don’t make our way through life without it. Suffering take the form of everyday burdens like financial strain and ongoing health concerns to events of a more catastrophic variety like tragic death and violence of global proportions. Sarahbeth tells her readers, The Christian view of suffering, in a nutshell, is that it can bring us closer to Christ, even if ‘closer’ means going straight to heaven and bypassing the rest of our lives on earth. It means we do not suffer alone, whether we are taken or left to survive another few decades. In either scenario, there is no easy peace.”
No easy peace. When suffering shows up at our door, we wrestle for the blessing. Here are the blessings I have found in suffering:
We enter into the suffering of Jesus. Our great intercessor knows what it’s like to suffer here on this earth. You don’t suffer alone.
The Holy Spirit leads us along the sorrowful way. One step at a time, day by day, he provides what we need to move forward.
When you suffer, or walk with a loved one who suffers, God draws close. I believe he cries with us. In our times of suffering we learn God is sovereign. Not only is he in control of time and space, but he’s got you. He’s got you. There’s a holy rest in that truth. Nothing else in life teaches us that not one thing happens to us without his knowledge quite like suffering does.
These truths don’t take away the suffering or make circumstances fair. They do allow our hearts to respond to him, our great comforter and healer. In his presence, we can express anger, cry out for justice, ask for divine miracles, let ourselves have a good cry. We can begin to find hope again. Oh, for grace to trust him more.
Maybe of the double portion of everything Job received after all his suffering, the thing he valued most was the new understanding he had of God.
Spinning Crap Into Fertilizer will be available for pre-order on Amazon next month. Stay tuned by subscribing to my newsletter for more updates.