Embracing Suffering In Your Ministry
by: Ajith Fernando
The title says it all – The Call to Joy & Pain is a call to take up at the same time two gifts from the Lord, joy and pain. The author Ajith Fernando is eminently qualified to present this study. He is the national director of Youth for Christ in war-torn, disaster ridden Sri Lanka. Also, he ministers to the urban poor of his country. Opening with Colossians 1:24-29, “I rejoice in my sufferings…”, Fernando explains that today’s church is interested in a therapy of suffering but he has found that what we need is a theology of suffering – we must learn to joyfully face the cross.
The Call to Joy & Pain message has four parts: Suffering and Joy are Basic to Christianity; Suffering Brings Us Nearer to Christ; Our Suffering Helps the Church; and, Servants of the Church. This is not a message for the faint of heart comfort lover. This is the “meat” of the Word, as the Apostle Paul would put it, and needs a reader willing to follow the Holy Spirit’s leading. “…we must not miss the demonstration of unflinching belief in the sovereignty of God that looks at every trial in a positive light.” (pg. 50).
With many illustrations from the author’s own life, and from other Christians past and present, this is a clear, incisive presentation, with a strong reliance on Scripture. The Call to Joy & Pain is interesting and easy to read, providing much food for meditation, devotion, and worship. It has definitely helped my personal Christian growth. I believe readers will find it useful for both personal reading and for group use.