I’ve been a fan of Dr. Paul Meier for quite some time, and his latest book—co-authored with Dr. David Henderson—kept me cheering. Finding Purpose Beyond Our Pain explores seven areas that prompt some of the deepest soul-searching and some of the stickiest questions that humans face.
There are a couple of things I admire about Drs. Meier and Henderson. One is their understanding that humans are a tri-part being: body, soul, and spirit. Those that try to bring help for the deep pain that we all experience by addressing just one area are missing the mark. There is physical pain, emotional pain, and spiritual pain.
I’ve often found that humanists who just want to address the physical and emotional symptoms, but ignore the spiritual symptoms, offer only short-sighted answers. On the other extreme, some in the church world want to offer spiritual solutions for everything, and completely ignore the physical and emotional causes. Either extreme is unhelpful to someone who is hurting. Drs. Meier and Henderson do an excellent job addressing all three areas.
The other thing I’ve always appreciated about Dr. Meier, and now his new coauthor as well, is his accessible writing style. In other words, although these are incredibly well-educated men, they write in a way that everyone can understand. And more importantly, their writing style allows for ready application.
This book is divided into seven sections of four chapters each. Each section diagnosis an area of pain, looks at the causes, explores the possible responses, and ultimately uncovers the purpose beyond the pain. In every section, the physical, emotional, and spiritual dimensions are addressed. These sections cover the most common pain-filled struggles we all face:
As a pastor, I have to deal with people who are experiencing past or present pain quite frequently. This book has enlightened me in some biblically-rooted, practical ways I can point to the purpose beyond their pain. But even if you are not a pastor or counselor, this book will be a great resource to have on your shelf. Whether you have lingering questions about the pain you have experienced, or you simply want to be ready to help a friend or loved one who may be battling one of these areas, you will appreciate Finding Purpose Beyond Our Pain.
I am a book review blogger for Thomas Nelson.