Aside from the Bible, one other book served as my lifeline during the hardest period of my life; my wife’s brain surgery and subsequent struggle to recover her speech, reading/writing skills, and my son’s passing to cancer just months after. That book was A Grace Disguised by Dr. Gerald Sittser. I’ve read the book probably four times, and recommended it to many who needed a healthy dose of theological perspective. What a thrill to land an interview with the author of this book, Dr. Gerald Sittser.
Order A Grace Disguised Here
Today we’re going to talk theology, especially the theology of suffering. If the church is ever going to become a healing community it needs to have a solid theology of suffering. A pastor who has a theology of suffering prepares his people for times of hardship and also empowers his people to serve one another when one member is hurting. All of this has to come out of a deep and committed understanding of the gospel.
The church committed to the gospel is a church that will understand the role that suffering has in God’s purposes. I have the privilege today to talk to someone who could not have survived deep suffering had it not been for the gospel of Jesus. She talks a lot about the gospel because it’s been her and her family’s lifeline. My guest today is Michelle Bates who in the span of several years faced unbelievable loss. Michelle wrote a book titled Beyond The Shadow, How Suffering Led Me to the Deep End of Grace. It is an excellent book and something we spent a lot of time talking about in this interview. Michelle lives in Humansville,MO where she and her husband Mike and their three children run an Inn.
And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken. Eccl.4:12
Some have asked me when we will tell our story of loss and recovery in our family. And what was it like on our marriage. If you listen to this podcast enough you know I have made reference to my wife’s struggle in recovering from brain cancer, and my oldest son’s death to cancer. AS it happened, we recently were invited to speak at a valentine banquet for a local church. I decided to record it. So here we are, the two of us, telling our story of how Jesus, that third chord, held our world together during the hardest of times.
It’s been some time now that I have wanted to tell our story, in particular my wife, Elaine’s story. Twenty years ago our family faced a trial that I know was survivable only because of the help of our Lord Jesus. As we were wrapping up a season of ministry in England, Elaine fell into an unexplainable coma. It turned out she was the victim of an undetected brain tumor. READ MORE
Today’s topic will be raw and very real. The title was given to me by the person I am interviewing, Todd Adams. The power of the gospel that transforms lives in tragedy. This is the story, the testimony of a man who’s trust in Christ has been deepened by the hardships of serving Jesus in the most remote part of the world, but also more deeply in a time of personal loss. Todd Adams and his wife Debbie have been international workers for over twenty years with the Christian and missionary Alliance in Africa and in Indonesia. They have four children. Their second, Emily, died tragically in a car accident last October at the age of 21.
Natalie, Sully, Emily, Beau, Debbie, Jordan, Todd
What does disappointment mean to you? To me it is when the things you have planned for, longed for, expected to happen, don’t happen the way that you planned. There is a sense of control that we as humans expect READ MORE
I think we would all agree that suffering produces the best leaders. I am amazed when I talk to people who consistently tell me that they are who they are because of how God shaped them during hard trials. In other places I have share about my own personal trials. When I recount these stories I will state how it scares me who I would be today had God not taken me through those trials. READ MORE