Friday, November 20, 2009

Book Review: Finding Purpose Beyond Our Pain

Finding Purpose Beyond Our Pain: Uncover the Hidden Potential in Life’s Most Common Struggles

By Paul Meier, MD and David L. Henderson, MD

This book is written by two Christian psychiatrists who are also on faculty at Dallas Theological Seminary, and throughout the book they draw on their experiences in biblical counseling and psychiatry to discuss the pain we all experience throughout life, digging for deeper meaning by looking for God’s purpose in it. They divide the book into seven sections about seven general types of pain, each with four chapters followed by discussion and application points. The sections are as follows: Injustice, Rejection, Loneliness, Loss, Discipline, Failure, and Death.

It is rare to find psychiatrists who are Christians, so to have this book from two of them is indeed something to appreciate. Their writing is clear and the examples they include drawn from their life as well as the people in scripture are compelling. I enjoyed their use of allegory in explaining some of the spiritual and emotional principles. For example, in the section on rejection they discuss people who tend to become too transparent early in relationship as being well-diggers, and people who remain guarded and superficial in relationship as building walls. They then applied biblical truth to these issues. I would recommend this book to people who are having a hard time understanding God’s purpose in the hardships they face, as well as anyone in a “ministry” position such as a bible study leader, pastor, missionary, as well as Christian doctors…really anyone who counsels people biblically and struggles with wanting to do it well.