Hope for Sufferers Found in God's Glory

by Kyle Smith

The crucible of suffering proved to be where Greg Harris found hope to sustain him through the hardest season of his life.

Harris, associate professor of Bible exposition at Southeastern College at Wake Forest, and his wife had just endured a span of three and a half years during which their twin children had died at birth, Harris had been crippled with rheumatoid arthritis, and God had closed every door before him in ministry.

"I had pretty much given up on life," Harris said of that period in 1993. "I went to the Word as my only source of hope. I found tremendous answers from God's truth. God answered not only my questions, but my heart and my hurts as well."

Harris candidly recounts his struggles-and the hope he found-in The Cup and the Glory, published by Kress Christian Publications. The title is taken from Harris study of the themes of the cup of suffering and the glory of God-topics he sees as closely related in Scripture.

Harris said he hopes readers can draw strength from the truth of God's Word: whether suffering themselves or comforting others who suffer, believers will find benefit for their souls as they encounter what Scripture teaches about the glory of God.

"I hope people will be drawn to the glory of God," Harris said. "I did not know anything about it, other than as a phrase in certain Scripture passages or songs. Once you understand a little about what God has promised regarding His glory, everything else on earth seems so small. Once you have even a trace of understanding about God's glory, any ministry, no matter how small, becomes wonderfully important."

In the end, Harris said he is grateful for the events in his life, painful as they were.

"Suffering was the divine catalyst to drive me to the study, Harris said. "Writing from the pit of despair changed everything about how I perceived suffering, God's work, and true biblical ministry. I am by no means a victim. I very much thank God that He has used the events in my life to compel me to go to Him and His Word for answers."

Daniel Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and the college, called the book "a careful and penetrating study born from the heart of a pastor/theologian."

"Greg Harris enrolls us in the elementary school of suffering and then carries us all the way through graduate school," Akin said. "Here we learn about the goodness and the glory of God that can only be discovered in the difficult and dark moments of real life. This book will challenge, convict and comfort those who enter in."

John MacArthur, president of The Master's College and Seminary in Santa Clarita, Calif., agreed that the book, because of the biblical hope it contains, will be beneficial for those struggling through their own times of darkness and difficulty.

"Dr. Greg Harris, a modern-day Job belonging to the society of mourners and sufferers, authentically expresses the bright hope of God's eternal glory that places even the darkest cup of earthly pain in perspective," MacArthur said. "He tenderly details from Scripture and his own pilgrimage on pain's pathway how God graciously and lovingly employs suffering to draw true believers in Christ nearer to Him. Whether you now suffer or comfort those who do, this is a must read."

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