Saturday, November 14, 2009

Purpose Beyond Pain

A Book Review: Finding Purpose Beyond Our Pain, by Paul Meier, MD and David L. Henderson, MD

Expecting a contemporary Paul Tournier, this book being written by physicians, I was initially disappointed that Meier and Henderson didn't discuss physical pain, focusing instead on what they define as the 7 universal struggles (injustice, rejection, loneliness, loss, discipline, failure, and death). Beginning reading somewhat mechanically, I found myself unexpectedly fully engaged by the second section. Seeing myself relatively strong emotionally, I was moved by how often I found myself in this book. Before reading this I would have suggested the bigger publishing need to be modern day references for people of faith dealing with physical pain, but having read it, I will refer others here often.

The lifelong psychiatric experience of the writers has given them a wealth of real life stories with which I believe any reader would find connection, either thru living out that current aspect of pain, having overcome in the past, or being close to people today struggling in that area. The Biblical examples demonstrate that anyone can experience any of these issues, no matter how spiritually strong or successful. Nor did the examples risk the offensive cliché in suggesting every pain has a purpose, but rather there is purpose bigger than the pain. The section conclusions guide the reader to practical steps for overcoming, both immediate "to do's" and spiritual/psychological introspection.

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