Does God Use Pain “For My Good”? Does Everything Happen For a Reason?

Is suffering a “part of God’s Plan”? Does God use trials to teach us a lesson? Does everything really happen for a reason?

A hard look at the Problem of God vs. Suffering, and why easy answers won’t work in the middle of the mess.

Get my book on persevering through trials & suffering, Mad About God.

— J.S.

My Latest Book In A Nutshell

Mad About God Crae art

starlight— asked a question:

What is your book “Mad About God” about?

Hey dear friend, thank you so much for asking. The book is about persevering through suffering, without glossy pep-talks and spiritualizing our hurt. The main premise is that both the church and pop culture usually offer platitudes and feel-good-isms about pain, when the reality of heartache is extremely gritty and staggering. I don’t believe every pain has a lesson; I believe life will hurt, and it’s okay to say it stinks. I talk about various ways we’ve over-romanticized pain, including statements like “Everything happens for a reason” and “God is using cancer to teach you a lesson.” I try not to resolve the tension too easily; there are no simple answers for suffering.

It’s probably my most personal and favorite book I’ve written. I talk about surviving suicide, my battle with depression, my friend’s battle with a rare terminal illness, losing my friend to murder, my bed-ridden cousin, my married friends dealing with a disabled child, and a ton of other real stories. I also go over Jeremiah 29:11, David & Goliath, Job, struggling versus selfishness, and facing injustice in the world. Please know, the book requires a little patience at the start and it can be a tough read – but I think it pays off in the end.

It’s on sale right now for 8.99 in paperback, with art by craelligraphy. It’s 3.99 in ebook and works on every device. To read an excerpt, check here. To hear an audiobook preview of the opening chapters, check here. You can read the reviews on Amazon if you’d like other opinions as well.

Be blessed dear friend, and much love to you. – J.S.

All Four Books in Paperback!

JS Books instagram

All four of my books are now only 5.99 to 8.99. They’re available on my Amazon author page here:

(Please consider leaving a review for any you might have read!)
Be blessed and love y’all!
— J.S.

Question: How To Reconcile With My Ex?

Anonymous asked (edited for length and anonymity):

So here’s my situation: I ended an extremely destructive relationship around 2 years ago. The relationship was based almost entirely on lust … The relationship ended badly … So for the next few years, I actively tried to avoid her because I felt that an encounter would be “awkward” and “uncomfortable.”

I was recently convicted to apologize and try to reconcile with her … But since I took something that I can never return — her sexual purity — do you have any advice as to what I could or should do in terms of making amends?

First of all, I highly applaud you for owning up to your sin and carrying forth with your convictions.  Very few men — or boys — would even dare consider approaching an ex they had most likely messed up. Not only is it excruciating to start that process, but she might be a constant reminder of where you fell short.  That is, if you don’t try to reconcile in earnest.

Of course, pray through it and make sure you’re doing it to truly elevate the name of Jesus, not to remedy your guilt or rectify a past mistake. 

Let’s hit up some reminders.

Continue reading “Question: How To Reconcile With My Ex?”

Thanks For Goodbye

Some of you know that in 2004 I attempted suicide. It was over a girl.
Here’s the story. I wrote it two months after I was released from the hospital. It’s slightly graphic.
Remember: in the darkness there is always, always, always hope.

After I get out of the hospital in three days from swallowing forty pills of Excedrin, I lose thirteen pounds. I’m one of those before and after pictures, you know, the ones where they use two different people to convey a new diet pill. Before: a wad of dough. After, he’s a smiling skeleton.

My shirts hangs on me like baggage-burned eyes. I still want to be with her. When you try to kill yourself over someone, that’s the only thing you really think about.

Outside in the rain under the blue sign that says “Sears,” she tells me she wants to spend the rest of her life with me. I smile against my teeth and my face turns green. My liver makes me want to puke and so does her face. It’s supposed to be one of those great moments that I should tell my grandkids. The memory we gather is composed of those emotional peaks that make up the blueprint journey of our life; at times we soar, at times we drown.

Continue reading “Thanks For Goodbye”