Trusting God Through Tears: A Story to Encourage

Jehu Thomas Burton, Author, Dan B. Allender, Pllc, Foreword by
Jehu Thomas Burton, Author, Dan B. Allender, Pllc, Foreword by Baker Books $15 (160p) ISBN 978-0-8010-6161-5
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This book aims to provide ""gentle comfort"" to those who grieve, but Burton's brand of comfort will probably be interpreted as such only by those who share his conservative evangelical theology. Most absorbing and affecting when it tells the poignant story of the Burtons' loss of their 12-year-old son, the book too often abandons this narrative in favor of homilies that border on Christian asceticism. Regardless of his putative topic in any given chapter, Burton cannot help but continually sound his refrain that those who want to be close to God should hope for suffering instead of happiness. In arguing that God wants us ""at the foot of his throne with our face in the dirt,"" and claiming that our attempts to be happy are sinful, Burton constructs a false dilemma: we can either enjoy life or we can love God. While the relationship between human suffering and intimacy with God is a worthy topic, Burton adds little to our understanding of it; his God is ultimately a rather one-dimensional disciplinarian in the sky. Furthermore, Burton's nonprofessional status as a writer and clergy member is evident in his cliched analogies and sometimes tedious prose. To his credit, he does refer throughout to C.S. Lewis's A Grief Observed--in doing so, he introduces readers to a more insightful better book about suffering. (Apr.)
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