A young man is in a moment of despair. He is sitting on a wooden floor, with most of him in a shadow. He is sitting with his head resting on his left knee. His left arm is wrapped around his knees. We cannot see his face.

A Book Review of When Life Hurts by Philip Yancey

The cover of When Life Hurts: Understanding God's Place in Your Pain by Philip Yancey

When Life Hurts, by Philip Yancey is a short book that tries to help the reader understand God’s place when one feels pain. It contains five short sections that one can go to when facing a particular challenge about pain. For example, section one is for when you wonder why God created pain, section three is for when God seems unfair, and section four is for when you wonder if God cares.

None of these sections are particularly long. Each section is about ten pages in length, at least two of which are pages with a scripture verse or quotation, and the font for the book itself is a rather large. Despite being short in length, I found that many of the sections have some good insight. They may be of benefit to those who are suffering from pain.

Most of the sections are made up of a story or event that the author relays to us. They may also contain a few scriptures or a retelling of some biblical events. I found the first section about why God created pain to be rather shallow, especially because it doesn’t include the Fall in its discussion. I did appreciate how Mr. Yancey writes about those who cannot feel pain, and the harm it brings to their lives though.

I thought the last two sections to be the most helpful. The example of Jesus as a way to show us how much God cares was good to read. Furthermore, the incredibly loving actions of the women at the end was extremely touching. I was greatly impressed by their charity.

All in all, it’s a short book, it isn’t the deepest, but I think it can be helpful to a number of people. Perhaps it will lead one to explore some of the scriptures it references and the problem of pain more closely in the future. 

My Rating: 3 of 5 stars

Image Used

A Young Man in Despair by HolgersFotografie from Pixabay.

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