In Chapter 1 (“Suffering is Inevitable”) of Glorious Ruin, Tullian Tchividjian tells of a harrowing time in the life of Nicholas Wolterstorff, a Christian who taught philosophical theology for many years at Yale University. As a professor, he devoted his life to the intellectual understanding, meaning and reality of life’s mysteries. But his attempts at making sense of suffering and pain were demolished by a single phone call notifying him that his 25- year old son had died in a mountain climbing accident.
Pastor Tchividjian notes that Nicholas Wolterstorff’s experience eradicates the notion that our suffering would hurt less if only we had a clearer understanding of God’s will or some illuminating insight into our condition. The author continues by delineating the role of the Gospel in our suffering:
“But the gospel is not ultimately a defense from pain and suffering; rather it is the message of God’s rescue through pain. In fact, it allows us to drop our defenses, to escape not from pain but from the prison of How and Why to the freedom of Who.”