Joy Through the Night

Written by Aída Besançon Spencer and William D. Spencer Reviewed By Craig Blomberg

The subtitle of this book accurately describes its contents: ‘Biblical Resources for Suffering People’. This is a work easily read in its main contours by thoughtful laypersons but with enough exegetical and philosophical ‘meat’ scattered throughout to keep the theological student satisfied as well. The Spencers are a wife-husband team. Both teach at Gordon-Conwell Seminary outside Boston; she, full-time, and he as an adjunct. William is also a local pastor.

‘Four foundational biblical categories that explain suffering’ comprise the outline of the book: ‘a world of pain, punishment for sin, advancing God’s reign and mystery’ (p. 19). Underneath these major headings appears an excellent combination of Scriptural exposition, principles for coping and helping others, and specific applications. All of the illustrations come from the Spencers’ own friends and family, and some of them are quite gripping—and personal. More so than some other books of its kind, this one is best read as a prophylactic—in advance of crises—but can surely bring much encouragement and hope in their midst. A strong theology of prayer and the possibilities (but not guarantees) of praying in faith permeates the volume.

Craig Blomberg

Craig Blomberg
Denver Seminary
Denver, Colorado, USA