When I found out that I would have the chance to review Torn, I was, well…torn. Since I’d already been doing some reading about trials, I wasn’t sure I wanted to add one more suffering-related book to my reading list. I’m glad I did though.
For those considering this book, first I’ll say what it’s not. It’s not a complete theological treatise on why God allows suffering. Jud Wilhite is grounded in his biblical truth, but he’s adamant that the book isn’t about the why of suffering. Instead, the book is about bringing us to a greater understanding of the God who we can trust while we’re suffering.
With that said, I recommend the book for three primary reasons:
First, the book is practical in its structure. Wilhite starts with an investigation of who God is and what healthy expectations of God look like. Then, and I think this is one of the best parts of the book, Wilhite moves toward hope. He wrote this book to walk readers through the experience of being torn back into the place of wholeness, so he spends the second half of the book talking about the importance of community, the danger of guilt, and the values of hope, joy, and forgiveness. As someone who has recently experienced trials, I felt like Wilhite had a wonderful grasp on the emotions and patterns of thinking that people will struggle with as they are torn.
The second reason I recommend the book is its tone. Wilhite calls out harmful thinking patterns unapologetically. He doesn’t try to put a pretty face on suffering and make it seem easier than it is. And, when he needs to reveal a truth about God that’s hard for people to realize, he goes ahead and reveals it. Yet, he gives all this truth in the context of love. I could hear the pastor’s heart beating behind the content of this book. Reading chapter one would be a great idea if you want to get an idea of the tone of the book.
Finally, I recommend this book because of its value for group study. Wilhite’s coverage of biblical truth would not be intimidating to those who have little background in the faith. The study guide’s approach leaves flexibility for a group to create an experience appropriate to their specific group’s context. If the group is ready to be vulnerable with one another, the questions will guide them into that vulnerability, but at the same time, the questions aren’t threatening and wouldn’t force those in fragile states of mind to share what they are uncomfortable sharing.
Note: I received a free copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange for my honest review.