THE SWORD OF SUFFERING
Author STEPHEN F. OLFORD
The son of Missionaries who served in Africa Stephen Olford became an influential pastor, preacher and teacher both in the United Kingdom and the USA. He established a foundation for the training of pastors in the art of expository preaching and Billy Graham regarded him as having the greatest impact on his own life and ministry. They remained close friends until the passing of Stephen Olford in 2004. This particular book takes up the subject of suffering and was written and published in 2001 after the author experienced a long and drawn out battle with cancer in his home city in the USA. It details his own pilgrimage from a personal, theological, doctrinal and psychological point of view. The section on the effects on the human soul when it passes through unexpected suffering is in fact written by his son, both a Christian minister and having a practice in psychology. As you would expect from this author, there is a simple, sectioned, often alliterative approach throughout. It is plain, edifying, Biblical and thoroughly helpful. It contains testimony from others, hardships faced, challenges to faith and the ways of God in bearing His people through such times. The book is not long, it is still in print and the lines are double spaced. It would be helpful as a study book for home groups who are wanting to take up the subject of suffering and consider it in the light of the Scriptures. For instance, the book opens with short sections on the purpose of God in suffering, the presence of Jesus with those who suffer and the power that comes to those who suffer. Note the three words, purpose, presence and power, examples of the author’s style. Those who desire to have their lives conformed to the image of Christ through all things, to grow in the knowledge of Him and have Him set forth His victory in the midst of great trials and testings will find helpful food to strengthen them in these pages.