Being There

Being There (Book Review)

Writing from personal experience, Dave Furman’s book is full of applied, practical, pastoral theology that instructs us in our care for the hurting in the church.

Before I had even finished reading Being There, I bought ten more copies to give to both hurting friends and fellow elders. That tells you how helpful I found this book!

For compassionate care-takers

Being There is addressed to “compassionate care-takers”- those who seek to help and support the hurting - particularly aiming to understand how helping the hurting impacts the helper.

It is full of applied, practical, pastoral theology that instructs us in our care for one another in the body of Christ. We are reminded how the glory of God is put on display in local churches as Christians practically show love to one another.

For twenty years, Dave has been unable to use his arms because of a complex and incurable nerve problem. It has impacted every area of daily life and the ministry God has given them in a church in Dubai – for example, he isn’t able to cut up his own food when sharing a meal with his fellow elders.

So, Dave (and his wife, Gloria, who writes a letter to the reader at the end) is able to write from personal experience of his long-term pain and disability.

He writes without self-pity. He helps us to put ourselves in the shoes of those suffering in a multiplicity of ways. Every page has the smell of authenticity.

Persuasively and gently, he illustrates how the good news of our crucified and risen Lord Jesus is life-shaping for both the sufferer and those who seek to help sufferers.

Thinking deeply about how to love

This is not a complex book, but it makes us think deeply about how to truly love one another as Christ loves us, encouraging every believer to be a “care-taker” of those who suffer.

It reminds us that as we grow in our love for our compassionate Lord, we will grow in our active love for the hurting; as we truly walk with God, we will find ourselves walking with the hurting.

Dave does not avoid hard topics. The chapter “Hope for Hard Conversations” shows that suffering does not give a sufferer freedom to sin. From scripture and personal experience, he highlights our need for brothers and sisters who faithfully rebuke us in love.

As for the ouch factor, “The Ten Commandments of What Not to Do for Your Hurting Friend” made me cringe as I thought of times when my well-intentioned attempts to help others may have hurt them even more!

This is a book any eldership or pastoral care team would benefit from reading together.

Originally published by Crossway, this new edition features additional discussion questions. You can order a copy of Being There from 10ofThose for £7.99.

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