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His Suffering and Ours: Words of Hope for Pierced and Wounded Hearts
Illustrated by Victor Kynam
Morrisville, NC: Lulu, 2005
Reviewed by Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur
In "His Suffering and Ours: Words of Hope for Pierced and Wounded Hearts", Kathryn Mulderink turns her attention to those times in our lives when we are hurting. We each have our crosses in life; we each must be purified through suffering. As Christians, however, we can take comfort in knowing that we have a God who suffers with us. Christ on the cross faced the epitome of what it means to suffer as a human being. He not only experienced physical pain, but also the emotional anguish of abandonment. "His Suffering and Ours" is "a collection of meditations, poems, and excerpts arranged around Christ's Seven Last Words from the Cross, focusing on our own response to our own Calvary."
Mulderink is an accomplished poet. Her previous book "To Sing You Must Exhale" featured her powerful verse. While her poems make a guest appearance in this work, her prose takes center stage and it is equally potent. God has graced this writer with amazing insight into both the human condition and the redemptive power of the love of God. It is that love of God which is the central theme of "His Suffering and Ours." Even in the midst of our pain, God loves us, and somehow, all will work out for good. As Mulderink states, "God really does love us. He didn't create us so that we could suffer and die without purpose."
Another primary theme is aligning ourselves with the work of God. When we pray the "Our Father," we implore "thy will be done." So often, however, we want to tell God what that will should be! We need to surrender, especially when it comes to times in our life when we are in need of healing. "It is choosing to turn things over to God and let Him heal me in His own time, in His own way, acknowledging that only He can bring healing. He may bring it through prayer, he may bring it through therapy, He may bring it through loving people in my life, but regardless, HE IS THE HEALER, and healing does not need my understanding, strictly speaking. It only needs my surrender."
Mulderink also includes a number of letters she has written to others (with their permission) who have sought her counsel in the midst of their own suffering. This is some of the most powerful writing in this book. In ministering to individuals, she also has something to offer each one of us. While each person experiences suffering in his or her own way, there is also a universal element. We all hurt, and words of comfort can help us all. She is quick to point out, however, that no one person can fulfill our needs. "Everyone will let us down at some time or another . . . But Jesus will never abandon us."
While "His Suffering and Ours" will not solve problems in life or take away hurt, it does point us to the One who can and does bring purpose out of our pain. It is insightful and well-written, a kind companion in dark days.
To read excerpt: God Truly Is Mercy and Love
For more information , please visit http://www.lulu.com/kathryntherese.
Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur is editor of "The Spiritual Woman Newsletter" and author of "Letters to Mary from a Young Mother" (iUniverse, 2004). She has a Master of Arts Degree in Applied Theology from Elms College.