I haven’t yet read Rejoicing in Lament: Wrestling with Incurable Cancer and Life in Christ, but I’ve ordered it. J. Todd Billings, the Gordon H. Girod Research Professor of Reformed Theology at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan, describes his journey after learning that he has terminal cancer the age of 39. An impressive group endorse the book.
At the age of thirty-nine, Christian theologian Todd Billings was diagnosed with a rare form of incurable cancer. In the wake of that diagnosis, he began grappling with the hard theological questions we face in the midst of crisis: Why me? Why now? Where is God in all of this? This eloquently written book shares Billings’s journey, struggle, and reflections on providence, lament, and life in Christ in light of his illness, moving beyond pat answers toward hope in God’s promises. Theologically robust yet eminently practical, it engages the open questions, areas of mystery, and times of disorientation in the Christian life. Billings offers concrete examples through autobiography, cultural commentary, and stories from others, showing how our human stories of joy and grief can be incorporated into the larger biblical story of God’s saving work in Christ.
“Rejoicing in Lament is a profound witness to the gospel. I can hardly find words to express its intelligence, honesty, and richness.”
–Gerald L. Sittser, Whitworth University; author of A Grace Disguised and A Grace Revealed
“Every chapter brims with pools of insight, pointing us beyond platitudes to the God who has met us–and keeps on meeting us–in the Suffering and Risen Servant. This is a book not just for reading but for meditation and prayer.”
–Michael Horton, Westminster Seminary California
“Rejoicing in Lament will touch and shape those who give pastoral care, and will offer hope and meaning for all Christians who face great suffering.”
–Kathryn Greene-McCreight, the Episcopal Church at Yale; author of Darkness Is My Only Companion: A Christian Response to Mental Illness
“Courageous, revealing, sometimes raw–this book reminds us that lament is an act of faith and that faith is a communal treasure. Billings’s testimony is that love is stronger than death. Unforgettable!”
–Cornelius Plantinga Jr., author of Engaging God’s World
“Here there is no simplistic moralizing, but a persistently questing witness to a God who is present in the midst of life-changing sorrow. To read with Todd is to join him in struggle and faith, doubt and hope, lament and praise.”
–Marianne Meye Thompson, Fuller Theological Seminary
“This profound and heartfelt book is for all Christians, for sooner or later we must all face the challenge of our own mortality.”
–Carl R. Trueman, Westminster Theological Seminary, Pennsylvania