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Torn to Heal by Mike Leake
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TORN TO HEAL: God’s Good Purpose in Suffering

4.79 out of 5 based on 14 customer ratings
(14 customer reviews)

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by Mike Leake
83 pages
“The most concise, readable, and helpful theology of suffering” (David Murray)


God is radically dedicated to our redemption. This is both glorious and terrifying. It is terrifying because we are idolaters. This means that when God brings redemption he also brings a death sentence to our fallen desires. In love, God will do whatever it takes-even ripping us to shreds if necessary-to replace our feeble pleasures with lasting desire for himself. ••• Sadly, in our culture two deadly responses to suffering have crept into the Church. These responses, deadly dualism and shallow stoicism, are attempts to hijack God’s good purpose in suffering. Torn to Heal is an invitation to embrace God’s good purpose in suffering, while urging its readers to reject these deadly enemies.


Endorsed by Lore Ferguson, Trevin Wax, Timothy Paul Jones, David Murray, and more.

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Endorsements & Excerpts

“The most concise, readable, and helpful theology of suffering I’ve come across. The content, length, and tone is just perfect.”
Dr. David Murray

Endorsements

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Torn to Heal is the most concise, readable, and helpful theology of suffering I’ve come across. The content, length, and tone is just perfect for those who are in the furnace of affliction screaming ‘Why?’”
Dr. David Murray, professor of Old Testament and Practical Theology, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan

“Nobody signs up for a life of suffering, but pain visits all of us. If you’re one of God’s children, suffering can cause you to question His goodness. What are His purposes? My friend Mike Leake delivers a clear, comforting, theologically robust view of pain and suffering. Not only does his theology give us permission to lament our pain, it drives us to the God of comfort who superintends our pain for His glory. This is a book you’ll want to read when you’re visited by suffering and a book you’ll easily pass out to those in your world who are feeling the sting of Adam’s curse.”
Daniel Darling, Senior Pastor, Gages Lake Bible Church; Author, Real: Owning Your Christian Faith

“Mike Leake has taken the ugliness of suffering, turned it over in his capable hands, and shown God’s goodness and faithfulness in the midst. More than simple encouragement for those suffering, it is a handbook of scriptural truths about Who God is and how He sustains.”
Lore Ferguson writes for The Gospel Coalition, Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, Deeper Church, Project TGM, and Sayable.net

Torn to Heal explores God’s redemptive purposes in human suffering in a concise, biblical and authentic way. Mike shuns cliches and platitudes to help the reader put life’s hardships into divine perspective and to endure in Christ’s strength. It is a must-read for Christians in distress.”
Dave Miller, Second Vice-President, Southern Baptist Convention; Senior Pastor, Southern Hills Baptist Church, Sioux City, IA; Editor, SBC Voices

“Suffering well is one of the primary ways we demonstrate to the world that our source of satisfaction is Christ alone. In Torn to Heal, Mike Leake provides a powerful reminder of God’s good purposes during painful circumstances. Read this book and prepare to be conformed into the image of the Christ who suffered on our behalf.”
Trevin Wax, Managing Editor of The Gospel Project, author of Clear Winter Nights, Gospel-Centered Teaching, and Counterfeit Gospels

“While our culture does its best to insulate us from pain and suffering, God wants us to embrace it for his glory. Mike Leake encourages us to face suffering not with stoic disinterest or dualistic defeatism, but with the redemptive purposes of Christ in view. All readers will greatly benefit from Torn to Heal and will be challenged in how they approach one of God’s key means of growing us into greater Christlikeness.”
Aaron Armstrong, of BloggingTheologically.com, is the author of Awaiting a Savior and Contend

“Mike Leake takes us on a gospel-driven path between dualism that acts as if God has lost control of his world and fatalism/stoicism that tries to bury pain beneath emotionless acceptance of whatever happens. The result is a brief but potent primer for ordinary people on the purpose of suffering.”
Timothy Paul Jones, Associate Vice President for Online Learning, Professor of Leadership and Church Ministry, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Excerpts

coming soon…

Author, etc.

AUTHOR

Mike Leake serves as an associate pastor at the First Baptist Church of Jasper, Indiana. He is currently pursuing a Master of Divinity at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Nikki, have two young children. Mike’s writing home is mikeleake.net.

ISBN

Print / PDF 978-1-936760-73-2, ePub 978-1-936760-75-6, Mobi 978-1-936760-74-9

DESCRIPTION

God is radically dedicated to our redemption. This is both glorious and terrifying. It is terrifying because we are idolaters. This means that when God brings redemption he also brings a death sentence to our fallen desires. In love, God will do whatever it takes-even ripping us to shreds if necessary-to replace our feeble pleasures with lasting desire for himself. Sadly, in our culture two deadly responses to suffering have crept into the Church. These responses, deadly dualism and shallow stoicism, are attempts to hijack God’s good purpose in suffering. Torn to Heal is an invitation to embrace God’s good purpose in suffering, while urging its readers to reject these deadly enemies.

14 reviews for TORN TO HEAL: God’s Good Purpose in Suffering

  1. 5 out of 5

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    A grounded biblical theology of crucial. This book aides in that development in a short, easy to read manner. I’m thankful for having found this resource and encourage others to pick this up as you seek HIS heart in learning about HIS use of suffering.

    Dale, in a 5-star review on Amazon

  2. 5 out of 5

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    “Compassionate to sufferers and leads them ever so gently to a kind and loving Christ.”

    Not dualism. Not stoicism. These two reactions to suffering are both common and wrong. The Bible is very realistic and sympathetic when it comes to our pain and struggles. But know also, that God indeed has a plan through it all.

    I loved this book. Short. Readable. Rich. Christ-centered. It doesn’t have a quick answer approach to trials. It is so compassionate to sufferers and leads them ever so gently to a kind and loving Christ.

    Anita, in a 5-star review on Amazon

  3. 4 out of 5

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    “Carefully separates the fibers of truth found in God’s sovereignty and makes pastoral application”

    Mike Leake wants you to know that God will do whatever it takes to make you complete, to give you lasting joy. He says,

    [T]he Lord, in his goodness, will rip us to shreds if that’s what it takes to replace our idols with lasting joy. He will stop at nothing to fully redeem us. He does this by changing our desires. And this is good. (p. 16)

    He starts the journey to unpack this truth in Hosea—a book that portrays in some of the most vivid and graphic terms God pursuing his people at all costs.

    What Mike wants you to know is that God is sovereign even over our suffering, even when we are being disciplined and all of it is for our good. He carefully separates the fibers of truth found in God’s sovereignty and makes pastoral application. Christ is central in understanding God’s sovereignty (pp. 47-48). If we can understand how God directs suffering in the life of his Son, then we can understand how he will work in our own life.

    He also attacks dualism and stoicism in the Christian life. He demonstrates how the biblical view of God’s sovereignty provides hope and comfort hand and fist over these bankrupt world views. “Yet at the end of the day the gospel proclaims (over against the dualist) an absolutely sovereign God and (over against the stoic) a God who incarnates himself and weeps for man’s suffering” (p. 68).

    He ends where the story ends in the new heaven and new earth–when we see Jesus. “It is a return to Eden, this time with no room for crafty serpents (see Revelation 21:8). Finally humanity will know the rule of God, rest in God, and relationship with God we were created to enjoy.” (p. 83)

    I found the constant reminder that God will restore us in the midst of suffering encouraging. Without that tenor through out, without the hope of final victory of pain and suffering, we would fall prey to despair. He ends with these words, “You and I are being un-dragoned. Take heart, suffering saint, Aslan is on the move. One day the tearing will be over and we will be swimming and splashing in the river of glory!” (p. 91)

    As suffering is common to us all, prepare yourself. Mike Leake will lead you to Christ and deepen your trust and hope in him in preparation for suffering.

    Mathew, in a 4-star review on Amazon

  4. 5 out of 5

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    Great read—pointed my heart towards God’s truth. And shed light on how to navigate suffering & difficulty of all kinds.

    Cabyrd, in a 5-star review on Amazon

  5. 5 out of 5

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    This is an excellent read for understanding God’s good purpose for the trials and suffering that we face in life. A wealth of information packed into a simple and easy to read book. Well done Mike Leake!!

    Tom, in a 5-star review on Amazon

  6. 4 out of 5

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    Short yet concise look at God’s purpose in suffering from a Biblical standpoint. Explains the ways we can distort suffering’s purposes and in turn how this affects the we respond to it in our lives.

    Susan, in a 4-star review on Amazon

  7. 5 out of 5

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    “One of the best books I have read on suffering!”

    This book was simple to read, honest, theologically sound and full of hope! This is a great resource to be used in Biblical Counseling.

    Lynne, in a 5-star review on Amazon

  8. 5 out of 5

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    Excellent Exploration of Suffering

    Understanding the purpose of suffering in this life is perhaps one of the most difficult experiences we face and most certainly one of the most difficult theological questions one can address. If God is good then why does evil take place? If God loves His people, then why do bad things happen to me and why did my mother die from cancer? These and many other related questions require the believer in Christ to purpose to develop a biblically based theodicy, a fancy theological term for the problem of evil and how the Bible says we should deal with that reality.

    Pastor and author Mike Leake, in his short but excellent primer on the subject of suffering, provides an outstanding approach to both dealing with and understanding suffering, where it comes from and why God often allows it to take place. This is not an easy topic to cover and Leake does not take this subject lightly nor does he provide flippant or positive thinking Joel Osteen type responses to these important issues. Conversely, he accurately engages Scripture with the backbone of God’s sovereignty in all matters that take place on earth as the formula for how to understand why suffering takes place.

    For example, I fully appreciated Leake using Hosea as a starting point for describing God’s marriage relationship with us. This is a wonderful example of the means to which God will go to woo back His wayward bride. Due to our penchant to turn away from our husband, there is often the need, just as took place with Hosea’s wife, to take what may appear to be “severe measures to show his bride how bad her decisions have been. He lets her taste what life is like apart from the blessing of God, what are the perfectly natural results of rejecting God’s good plan. God withholds his gifts and goodness, thus exposing the inability of false gods to offer anything of lasting value.” This is a very interesting and valid point to make as it certainly plays out in the history of Israel and if we would be honest, in our own lives as well. At times, suffering is a means God uses to woo back His people. It is almost as if God is demonstrating to us or providing a glimpse to us of the consequences of rejecting Him as Lord in every area of our life. If we recognize the suffering for what it is, the result of our natural tendency to stray from the things of God, we can use those events as a learning experience to grow ever closer to God.

    A very interesting element of this approach is the reality that God desires His bride and will do what it takes to woo her back. In the midst of suffering, there is the promise of healing should we return to our husband. This again is revealed in the story of Hosea. The presentation of the gospel message by Leake through the story of Hosea and his wife Gomer is truly a hallmark of Torn to Heal. Given that most people have likely never read Hosea to begin with, they have missed a truly glorious presentation of how God has redeemed us, his wayward bride from our prostitution to other gods/husbands/lords. Leake wonderfully notes “Like Gomer, you and I have hearts given to rebellious idolatry. It is a desperate tragedy that we tend to hate what we should love and love what we should hate…But God has loving acted to rescue and restore us. Where Hosea gave everything he had to win back his prostitute wife, the Father sanctified his only begotten Son to save us.” What a wonderful story.

    So what does that have to do with suffering? Leake reminds the reader that often suffering is a prelude to healing. He also rightly notes that not all suffering is the direct result of sin. Some suffering in this life is merely the result of living in a fallen world. As Scripture notes, physical death will come to everyone as a result of the sin of Adam. All of creation groans under the weight and impact of sin. With that said, “behind every instance of suffering that comes into our lives is a good and merciful God. Though all of hell might use suffering to wage war on our soul, and though that suffering might be administered by the hand of wicked men, the Scriptures proclaim that God sovereignly stands over every instance with a good purpose.” Grasping that is crucial to developing a sound theodicy. Knowing and resting on the fact that God is sovereign and is in control, even in the midst of what may seem like absolute despair with no end in sight, is the proper approach to dealing with suffering.

    I also greatly appreciated Leake’s discussion of Christian Dualism and Stoicism. These two incorrect approaches to suffering often rear their ugly heads in theology or in many people’s everyday approach to suffering. The idea that Satan is God’s foil or that God and Satan are engaged in a cosmic war with no apparent winner is a truly false approach to understand the nature of the conflict. God is sovereign and the enemy is not. There is nothing that takes place outside the purview of God and His divine will. As Leake so aptly notes “This is fairy-tale theology, a simplistic and unfruitful worldview that replaces Scripture with a personalized adaptation of a Star Wars script and reduces God to a struggling combatant in a great cosmic war. Of course, our enemy delights in dualism because it portrays God as far less than the Lord of all he truly is.”

    In the same vein, the stoic approach, that of the rejection of emotion when it comes to suffering is equally harmful. Leake does an excellent job of reminding the reader of the importance of lament and sharing with God what is on your heart. The Psalms are full of such examples of lament with the caveat that the Psalmist clearly expresses his heartfelt emotions while at the same time recognizing that even in the midst of suffering, God is fully in control and has the good of His children always in mind.

    While Torn to Heal might not be as exhaustive as other books on suffering or it might not be as scholarly as more philosophical treatments of theodicy, Leake’s effort certainly stands toe to toe with other books out there on this subject. His approach is completely biblical, timely, and allows the reader to constantly absorb the fact of God’s sovereignty, His wooing of His bride, and the use of suffering to heal and to help His wayward bride see the error of their ways so they can return to their first love.

    I received this for free from Cruciform Press for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

    Michael, in a 5-star review on Amazon

  9. 5 out of 5

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    I was challenged by this short work on suffering. It is concise and Leake gives strong biblical examples to build his theology of suffering. Highly recommend.

    Barney, in a 5-star review on Amazon

  10. 5 out of 5

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    “Perfect balance between grace & truth”

    These days, you don’t have to look for long to see who is suffering. If you are still stuck, sit down for the evening news or read a headline in the newspaper. You will be immersed in the suffering of people all over the world. For many of us, suffering has been a part of our story too. Sickness, death, or tragedy through an accident or other means… a broken family, abuse, loss of a job…the list could go on and on. Suffering is an inevitable part of being human.

    So in a world where suffering is common, we all could use some relief. In his new book, Torn to Heal: God’s Good Purpose in Suffering, author and pastor Mike Leake (not the baseball player for the Cincinnati Reds ) takes on this difficult but important issue. Leake not only looks at human suffering, he also examines possible responses to suffering and the blessing that can come within it.

    Overview

    Leake believes that God will “rip us to shreds if that’s what it takes to replace our idols” and that He uses suffering for our greatest good- often in the most unexpected way. Leake uses the biblical teaching of Hosea as an illustration of God’s love for us. To one degree or another, we all turn from God like Gomer does from Hosea, and we are “called back to the wilderness, our wounds aching and spirits feeble, to love us once again.” We are not called to retrieve our own redemption through anything we do on our own, “Christ did that for us” but “we are all called to cooperate and participate in the process of our daily, incremental redemption.”

    In his book, Leake lays out the theology of suffering as follows:

    1. God is not evil and does not do evil.

    2. God is executing a long term plan to eradicate all evil.

    3. God is sovereign, and everything that happens comes from His hand (whether directly or indirectly).

    4. As autonomous human beings, we are personally responsible for our own evil acts (that is we cannot evade responsibility for our actions by claiming they were caused by God, Satan, circumstances, our past, our limitations, or other people).

    5. God ultimately does all things for His glory.

    6. God is ever working all things together for the greatest good of His adopted children.

    7. Ultimately, our greatest good is conformity to Christ, which gives us the capacity for an eternal enjoyment of God Himself.

    In addition, Leake presents biblical examples of suffering: Job, Joseph and Jesus. He identifies three ways to respond to suffering. We can try to be stoic. If we believe in Stoicism,we live in a fallen world, but it is not up to us to figure out its purpose. In this view of the world, we just push through it. Don’t feel; just try to survive. In Dualism, we look at the suffering coming from the devil only and good from God only. We pray for good prevailing over evil. This provides a shallow faith with little root to withstand trials since it minimizes God’s sovereignty. Finally, Leake presents a Biblical response to suffering. He presents that God will orchestrate His will in all things. However, it does not minimize our suffering; instead, like Job, David or the other Psalmists, we are to call out to God in our suffering. Only when we believe Christ is our greatest good will we be able to suffer well.

    Bottom Line

    If you’re not into concepts like Dualism or Stoicism, don’t let these theological terms throw you off or scare you away. Leake easily and delicately brings his reader along. There is nothing about this book that is judging or condemning to its reader. I really liked the encouragement Leake was able to point his reader to in his biblical teaching. This book leads you down a path of honestly looking at these responses and the blessing of responding biblically. This book really will be a blessing to its reader. Whether you have suffered life events that have been of your own doing, the doing of others, or you just want to read a book on this delicate topic for further growth, I highly recommend Torn to Heal. It is just the right balance of truth and grace. I can say that I left with a much clearer understanding of suffering and Christian responses to it. As fellow sufferer, I know that God’s will is a blessing to those who faithfully follow Christ. I give Torn to Heal five stars of five stars.

    Vicki Tiede

  11. 5 out of 5

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    “Doesn’t minimize our emotions but it points to the God of the Bible who truly cares for us”

    Mention the word “suffering” and people are likely to think of a thousand things. When I think of suffering I think of my recent experience with losing three family members and my father being diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia. Suffering, I’ve come to realize, isn’t any fun while you are going through it, but it does force one or two reactions. The first reaction is to “run” away from it and fill your life with a thousand things other than God. The final reaction is the better of the two options, which is to run towards God who heals broken people and hearts through the Gospel. In his brand new book Torn to Heal God’s Good Purposes in Suffering Pastor Mike Leake writes to help his readers think biblically and through Gospel-filled lenses about suffering. One example of this is the following on page 86:

    So the Bible acknowledges our suffering, fully and completely, without ever minimizing the present reality and pain, and without ever giving an inch to the powers of darkness that ever strive but ever fail to defeat God’s children. Indeed the Scriptures present suffering as a painful yet merciful tool in the hands of a loving God. Our loving Father uses the furnace of suffering to separate from us anything that will not lead to our ultimate delight. Though painful at the time, there is a good purpose of God in our suffering. He will tear us for the sake of healing us, and he will do it in love, for his eternal glory and our eternal good.

    I’ve learned through a variety of difficult experiences in my own life the truth Mike teaches here. Minimizing the pain or excusing it just doesn’t work. We may be in denial about our suffering or circumstances but denial can only last so long. If we don’t deal with the pain of death or hard situations, at some point, we will become jaded. God created us with emotions and those emotions are not to be diminished but experienced by grounding our lives in the Truth of God’s Word. Learning this took the first sixteen years of my life until finally I was so depressed and sick of everything I almost just gave up. Thankfully before I even got to this point, the Lord surrounded me with many godly people who helped me process my parent’s divorce and to make sense of it by lovingly pointing me to Jesus and modeling Christlike character.

    This is what makes Mike’s book so powerful; it doesn’t minimize our emotions but it points to the God of the Bible who truly cares for us. Martyn Lloyd-Jones that famous British preacher made the comment in his book I Am Unashamed on page 63 that all of our problems go back to our view of God. Our view of God as Leake rightly notes throughout his book following in the footsteps of Lloyd-Jones begins with a right (biblical) view of God.

    I read this book in almost one sitting, something I haven’t done in a very long time. One of the reasons I read this book so fast (not to mention its short) was because Leake is a very engaging writer, and also because I’ve been processing recent events in my own life a lot recently. I read this book not as a critic (even though I was going to review it) but to think through this topic more and to be ministered to by the author. As I read this book through this lens, I was consistently reminded that God intends my suffering not to just beat me over the head, or because He is cruel, but rather because He genuinely cares for me and wants my good in order for me to grow in conformity to Jesus Christ. The author rightly notes that, “Suffering, then, is a means that God uses to draw believers into greater conformity with Jesus Christ. It is a God-ordained means to joy” (43).

    Whether you are going through a difficult season or you aren’t, Torn to Heal has something for you. As you read this book you will be confronted by a Sovereign God who knows the pain you’ve experienced and who longs to meet with you in the midst of your pain in order to comfort you. While many people feel God is distant and disinterested about what they experience, it is books like Torn to Heal that will help people understand that the God of the Bible is actively interested in the affairs of man.

    Whether you are presently experiencing suffering or not; there is good news for you, there isn’t an old normal, there is only the new normal with Christ at the center. Torn to Heal is the kind of book you will want to pick up and read in order to prepare for hardship, trials and difficulty. If you are presently going through difficult times please read Torn to Heal and allow Mike to lead you straight to the God of the Bible who truly cares for you and who longs to mend your broken heart with the Gospel that makes broken people whole.

    Dave Jenkins, Servants of Grace

  12. 4 out of 5

    :

    “Raises some interesting questions about suffering”

    Torn to Heal by Mike Leake is a biblical look at the role of suffering in our lives. The problem of suffering is inevitably one that everyone struggles with at some point, especially if you believe in an all-loving God who wants good for those who believe in him. Leake looks at suffering as a way in which God refines believers, developing their character and their faith. He does this by appealing to a story in the book of Hosea where God compares himself to a husband who has been cheated on by with his wife, the nation of Israel. In this particular story, God personifies himself as a husband who takes away all the good things that he gave his wife and strips her bare before all of her adulterous lovers. Honestly, it’s a pretty intense and disturbing scene. Leake uses this story and several other passages of Scripture to describe a God who loves his people enough to “tear” them so that they can be healed. The goal of the book is to outline some surprising benefits to suffering.

    No doubt the Scriptures indicate that suffering tests our faith in God and provides an opportunity to grow. I like how this book encourages us to see suffering as an opportunity to grow. However, the book takes a deterministic approach to God’s causation of every event that happens in history. This, of course, means that all suffering is ultimately intended by God, even if it is immediately caused by secondary agents. And if you believe that suffering is meant to help you grow, then it’s not far off to assume that every instance of suffering that ever happens is meant to bring about some good in the world. As Paul said, “Everything works together for good for those that love him.” But what about when people don’t grow from suffering? What if it breaks them instead? What about unbelievers? Surely, suffering sometimes leads unbelievers to embrace Christ, but not always. Though I agree with the author that suffering can be opportunity for our faith to be tested and for us to grow, it seems like a deterministic approach to God’s sovereignty would lead someone to honestly raise the question of why there is so much wasted suffering in the world. Why is there so much suffering that produces no good at all?

    Another concern I have with the common approach to suffering is that people begin to replace God’s role in their lives as God with something I call “the event catalyst.” What is supposed to cause us to change? God, obviously. That’s his role as God. If God changes us and acts as the catalyst to our change, then he is indeed the God of our lives. But sometimes people only change as a result of suffering. I won’t argue that some people are driven to God and change as a result of what they come to believe about God in the midst of their suffering, but I believe many people rely on suffering as an event catalyst to change. When suffering and not God causes us to change, the suffering replaces the role of God. Does God use suffering to bring about change in us? He can and does. But is it necessary? Only in so much as we, as fallen creatures, won’t submit otherwise. God wants to us to place our faith in him and change as a result of our faith in him. I believe suffering is used by God, but may not be in every instance intended by God specifically to bring about change in us.

    Obviously, I’ve raised a lot of questions, and there are many others that I have on the subject, but as this is a review of Torn to Heal, I want to simply say that I appreciate Leake’s heart toward helping people wrestle with this difficult issue. It raised some questions in me, especially concerning the episode in Hosea that I will continue to wrestle through, so I appreciate him facing the issue head on. Definitely check out the book and be encouraged to latch onto Christ in the midst of suffering.

    Review copy provided by Cruciform Press.

    Tom Farr, in a 4-star review on Amazon

  13. 5 out of 5

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    “Faithful to God’s Word, down-to-earth, honest, and Gospel-centered”

    Torn to Heal is a self-proclaimed “bare bones theology of suffering”. In it, Mike Leake is faithful to God’s Word, down-to-earth, honest, and Gospel-centered. He has a sense of humor which permeates his writing, making the book an enjoyable read. Leake successfully shows something of the beauty of suffering, the good gift that it is, and how gracious it is of God to allow us to suffer. Although suffering doesn’t feel good, there are things that we learn through suffering that would likely never be learned apart from it. In Leake’s words: “…sometimes the only possible path to greater joy is the path of suffering” (pg. 37).

    One of the most helpful and encouraging facets of Torn to Heal is the way that Leake highlights some of the many benefits of suffering. For example, Job developed a “depth to his relationship with Yahweh [the LORD] he had not enjoyed before the calamity” (pg. 45). Samuel Rutherford also knew something of this, as evidenced when he wrote: “And sure I am, it is better to be sick, providing Christ come to the bed-side, and draw aside the curtains, and say, ‘Courage, I am thy salvation,’ than to enjoy health, being lusty and strong, and never to be visited by God” (pg. 77).

    Furthermore, Leake employs numerous word pictures to help the reader better understand the benefits of suffering. One such illustration revolves around playing sports: practices, endless drills, and grueling “suffering”…all discipline that enabled his team to run circles around the opposing team. He then explains what we read in Romans 5:3-4, namely, that suffering is meant to build endurance and perseverance in us (pg. 49). Understanding these truths allows believers to rejoice in suffering.

    Another beneficial word picture conveys well that: “Tearing is often the means to healing. Suffering paves the road to eternal joy” (pg. 51). Leake writes about a life-saving surgery that his Dad needed to have, how his dad “had to be radically and deeply wounded in order to be made well” (pg. 36). Afterwards, he explains that we, too, must be deeply wounded in order to be made well. He refers to this as, “Suffering from without promoting holiness from within” (pg. 50).

    Throughout Torn to Heal, Leake covers a lot of ground. He makes important distinctions between divine punishment and divine discipline; he examines enemies of our souls with regard to suffering: comfortable dualism & stoic indifference; and he helps his readers to understand what the apostles knew so well: “Jesus is so precious that the cost of growing closer to him is nearly irrelevant–the price is worth it” (pg. 78). Part of the reason the apostles could count it all joy when they experienced suffering was because they new how desperately they needed it…for…their…souls. Torn to Heal assists the reader in seeing the value of suffering that they too may count it all joy. “Our loving Father uses the furnace of suffering to separate from us anything that will not lead to our ultimate delight. Though painful at the time, there is a good purpose of God in our suffering” (pg. 86).

    BUT…Leake doesn’t leave us there. For believers in Christ, our sufferings are temporary. Leake reminds us that Christians are filled with hope because we know the outcome. In this world we will have troubles, but Christ has overcome the world (John 16:33). Leake meditates upon the fact that our present suffering is not worth comparing to the glory that is to be revealed to us in the future (Ro. 8:18). In 2 Corinthians, Paul writes: “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison…” (2 Corinthians 4:17, ESV). Additionally, Revelation 21 informs us that there will be an end to suffering for believers. In the meantime, we can have hope, joy, and peace, as we reflect upon God’s good purpose in our present suffering and in the knowledge that things will not always be this way. Torn to Heal is an excellent means to that end. I highly recommend it and trust that many will find it an edifying read!

    *Many thanks to Cruciform Press for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion!

    David Hankins, in a 5-star review on Amazon

  14. 5 out of 5

    :

    “Christian, read this work and be encouraged.”

    Mike Leake in his book Torn to Heal seeks to help his readers understand “God’s good purpose in suffering.” Leake’s book is biblically accurate, an easy-read, and helpful to the local church. With a mother who is suffering with Parkinson’s disease and as a pastor of a church with an aging congregation, suffering is a daily reality where I’m challenged to think biblically as I encourage others. If one is a good minister, he will have real empathy and love for fellow believers who suffer. Leake’s book encouraged me, for it helps Christians balance God’s absolute sovereignty over all creation-including suffering-and our humble yet honest emotional plea to God for relief.

    Leake’s work is timely, for Satan has deceived millions of Christians into thinking God wants every Christian to be healthy, wealthy, and “materially-blessed” in this evil, cursed world. Even a cursory glance at Scripture reveals the opposite. Leake points out the clear teaching of Scripture: if you have God through the finished work of Christ, you have Who you were created to enjoy forevermore. Our suffering is always for His glory and for our good, and eternal joy is just around the corner for those who trust in Christ alone for their salvation. Then, “death and tears and mourning and pain and sin and grief will be utterly decimated by the resurrection power of the redeeming Son of God” (83). In the midst of suffering, look to Him alone while pleading to God for relief. The wonderful reality is that relief is coming for all those who repent and believe in Christ. He has conquered, is conquering, and will conquer the results of the Fall. Rejoice friends, rejoice!

    I highly recommend this book. I’m purchasing a bulk order from Cruciform Press to hand out to the church I pastor. I think this work will encourage all Christians to think biblically about God and suffering. Christian, read this work and be encouraged.

    Jared H. Moore, All Truth is God’s Truth

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