When the Stars Disappear: Help and Hope from Stories of Suffering in Scripture (Paperback)
Suffering and the Christian Life, Volume 1
When suffering overwhelms us, it is easy to despair and even doubt God’s goodness. As the clouds of suffering roll in, we can lose sight of everything but our pain. In these moments, when the stars disappear, we must turn to Scripture to find assurance that God can and will carry us through. In this book, Mark Talbot recounts the suffering of some of the Bible’s greatest saints. They show us what it means to remain faithful and hopeful through life’s darkest times—and thus help us cling to God’s sure promise that he will never leave us or forsake us but will be with us and sustain us until the storms subside and the stars reappear.
Topics: suffering, Christian living
Page Count: 144
Publication Date: August 25, 2020
Mark Talbot (PhD, University of Pennsylvania) is associate professor of philosophy at Wheaton College. His areas of expertise include philosophical psychology, philosophical theology, David Hume, Augustine, and Jonathan Edwards. He and his wife, Cindy, have one daughter and three grandchildren. Mark attends Christ Presbyterian Church in Roselle, Illinois.
“Anyone who has suffered, regardless of how much, should read this book. It ministered to me. We are reminded to be honest with God in prayer about how we feel about our suffering by, for example, asking God questions like the suffering psalmists do. But then Talbot places our suffering within Scripture’s overall storyline of creation, fall, redemption, and new creation, reminding us always to try to understand how God is using our suffering to fulfill that storyline. He explains how our suffering helps us better understand our relationship to Christ and his suffering. By continually going to Scripture, he shows us how saints such as Naomi, Job, and Jeremiah worked through their suffering and came to ultimate trust and hope in God about it.” —G. K. Beale, J. Gresham Machen Professor of New Testament, Westminster Theological Seminary
“Books offering palliatives to the problem of pain are ten a penny. But this splendid study is different. It is a careful, spiritual, sensitive treatment that does not shirk the emotional and imaginative dimensions of our lives. More importantly, it has to do with human expectations: Jesus said to his disciples, ‘In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world’ (John 16:33). Talbot sets a high standard of fidelity to Scripture as he considers three Old Testament figures—Naomi, Job and Jeremiah—and the New Testament passages that follow in that vein. So here Talbot is paying particular attention to suffering and the Christian life. This is not a purely theoretical approach to the issues, though it is very thoughtfully written. The discerning reader will have his appetite whetted for the other studies to follow. Unreservedly recommended.” —Paul Helm, former professor of the History and Philosophy of Religion, King’s College London
“I can think of no better way to ask hard questions about the suffering of believers than by delving into the words and stories of Scripture. In this first of four volumes, Talbot dives in deep. He sets the reality of personal, painful experience in the sure context of God’s revelation, which not only fully acknowledges Christians’ suffering but also lights up hope in God, ultimately through his Son.” —Kathleen Nielson, author; speaker
“Talbot’s experience of suffering gives him a heart of empathy for anyone who struggles to understand the hard ways of God. His rigor as a Christian philosopher equips him to voice the most disturbing questions we have about human pain without minimizing their difficulty or giving in to despair. Talbot uses stories from Scripture to offer the clear practical and theological guidance that suffering believers need to move forward in hope. This beautiful book will comfort readers with the assurance that we are never alone in our suffering but sustained by our ever-loving Savior.” —Philip Graham Ryken, President, Wheaton College