Whether we’re dealing with suffering, temptation, sin, grief, or persecution, it’s easy to feel alone in our troubles. But the reality is that everyone experiences trouble at some point, and we have a Father in heaven who promises to always be with us. In this honest and encouraging book, Phil Ryken offers hope and practical examples from his own life, the lives of major characters from the Bible, and Jesus himself to show us that we’re never alone in our pain. Though suffering is normal and affliction is to be expected, Christians can put their hope in God—our very present help in times of trouble.
Table of Contents:
Prologue: Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen (Psalm 37:39-40)
1. “Woe Is Me!: Isaiah’s Sin and Guilt (Isaiah 6:1-8)
2. “I’ve Had Enough”: Elijah’s Desperate Depression (1 Kings 19:1-18)
3. “Where You Die I Will Die”: Ruth’s Grief and Poverty (Ruth 1:1-18)
4. “You Are the Man!”: David’s Deadly Temptation (2 Samuel 11:1-5; 12:1-15)
5. “Cursed Be the Day I Was Born!”: Jeremiah’s Disheartening Persecution (Jeremiah 20:1-18)
6. “A Sword Will Pierce Your Own Soul Too”: Mary’s Troubled Soul (Luke 1:26-38; 2:22-35)
7. “Now Is My Soul Troubled”: The Savior’s Suffering unto Death (John 12:20-33)
8. “We Are Afflicted in Every Way”: Paul’s Light and Momentary Troubles (2 Corinthians 4:7-18)
Epilogue: Here Comes Trouble! (John 16:25-33)
Philip Graham Ryken (DPhil, University of Oxford) is the eighth president of Wheaton College. Formerly, he served as senior minister of Philadelphia’s historic Tenth Presbyterian Church. He has written or edited more than 40 books, including the popular title Loving the Way Jesus Loves, and has lectured and preached at universities and seminaries worldwide.
“Written by a sufferer who is also a skilled theologian-exegete, this book is honest, tender, full of grace, and bursting with the street-level wisdom of God’s Word. With story after story from Scripture, Dr. Ryken shows how the Bible accurately portrays our sufferings and how God meets us in the midst of them. Since suffering really is a universal human experience between the ‘already’ and the ‘not yet,’ this is a book worth getting and living with. I found it to be enormously helpful, and you will too.” - Paul David Tripp, President, Paul Tripp Ministries; author, What Did You Expect?
“Dr. Ryken is serving as the president of one of the most important Christian institutions of our time. Even in my work in the Middle East, I have been blessed by Wheaton College through my ongoing relationships with professors there and also through the many Wheaton graduates who have worked with me over the years. Dr. Ryken is there through both good times and difficult times, always leading with integrity and wisdom, so that Wheaton College can truly be ‘For Christ and His Kingdom.’ In this book, Dr. Ryken shows his characteristic integrity in his ability to be vulnerable before others in order that they might find solace in Jesus Christ. I am so pleased to fully endorse this book, written by a man I hold in highest esteem.” - Canon Andrew Wright, Vicar Emeritus, St. George’s Church, Baghdad, Iraq; President, Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East
“When trouble comes, most Christians want to escape it, deny or divorce it, or medicate or avoid it—we do everything but actually try to live with it! Thankfully, Dr. Ryken takes great pains in this remarkable book to show us how to live gladly and gloriously through our troubles. Rather than take us on a detour around our hardships, he serves as our guide through them. If you are finding it hard to ‘welcome trials as friends,’ this is the book for you.” - Joni Eareckson Tada, Founder and CEO, Joni and Friends International Disability Center
“Few books present both comfort and challenge like When Trouble Comes. Dr. Ryken weaves his own story with the likes of Ruth, David, and Paul to illuminate God’s path to resilience. You will gain practical steps to hope when your own soul is troubled and a clear call to action when you witness pain in the world.” - Lisa Beamer, author, Let's Roll
“When Trouble Comes is a profound book for people in profound trouble. We don’t need to go looking for it, of course. Sooner or later, some life-altering catastrophe that only God can get us through crashes into our lives. And God does help us, very wonderfully, as we fall into his loving arms. Dr. Ryken, a man I highly respect, gently shows us from the Bible how God cares for us when our very lives are on the line. May the Lord bless you as you read this encouraging book, even as he has blessed me.” - Raymond C. Ortlund Jr., Lead Pastor, Immanuel Church, Nashville, Tennessee
“As much as we hate to admit it, trouble inevitably marks every one of our lives. The Preacher was right when he wrote in Ecclesiastes that all our ‘days are full of sorrow.’ When Trouble Comes assumes that trouble will come—and not just to people who are living in rebellion against God, but to those, even especially to those, who are seeking to live for God’s glory. With deep wisdom and broad scriptural insight, Dr. Ryken identifies the sources of our troubles and calls us to faith in the Son who endured suffering and enters into all our sorrows.” - Elyse M. Fitzpatrick, counselor; speaker; author, Found in Him
“All believers suffer, and sometimes we suffer in agonizing ways. Dr. Ryken helps us understand suffering from God’s perspective by telling the stories of biblical figures who endured suffering. His own story, related at the beginning of the book, is compelling and encouraging. We need energy and fuel to make it through the hard times, and Dr. Ryken gives us that fuel in this biblically saturated book.” - Thomas R. Schreiner, James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation and Associate Dean of the School of Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
“Deep meditation on Scripture has intersected with a wise understanding of human nature to yield a book that speaks earnestly to our lives. I have preached and taught on most of the biblical figures described in this book, but I learned many new truths as I read these studies.” - Ajith Fernando, Teaching Director, Youth for Christ, Sri Lanka; author, The Call to Joy and Pain