Thursday, February 7, 2013

A Favorite Book: Trial and Triumph

Occasionally I like to use this space to share some my favorite books.  Today is one of those days.

Trial and Triumph by Richard Hannula is one of the best books that we have ever purchased.  This book is excellent for introducing children to the some of the greatest heroes of Christ's church, from Polycarp to Martin Luther to Charles Spurgeon to Richard Wurmbrand.                                                                                                            

I bought this book initially because it was recommended in our Tapestry of Grace curriculum.  I am thankful that it was part of our curriculum because I don't know how long it would have taken me to hear about it otherwise!  It is a great resource for any family.

There are forty-six biographical sketches in this book; some of them disturbing, all of them inspiring.  Reading this book with my children has reminded me that as a follower of Christ, persecution is common, and should actually be expected.  Reading story after story of people throughout the history of Christ's church who have stood firm for their faith is, to me, continuous confirmation of the fact that He is worthy of our lives--of our suffering.

We do this book as a read aloud, because there are times when I need to stop and explain, or offer assurance that although some of these people suffered greatly, they had counted the cost, and they endured their trials knowing full well that their suffering was not in vain.  Their faith was in Christ.

Not all the stories end in martyrdom, but a few do.  What I like about this book (for my kids' sake) is that it is not altogether graphic, yet it provides enough information to get the point across.  Persecution of the church is real, and I would be doing a great disservice to my children if I "guarded" them by pretending that walking with Christ will always be what the world defines as "happiness".  After all, Jesus said in John 15:20, "A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you."

Will my children face persecution?  Of course they will.  Maybe severe, maybe not.  Maybe to the death, maybe not.  But they need to count the cost of following Christ.  And they need to understand that following Christ is entirely worth the cost!

If you are looking only for in-depth biographies, this is not the book for you.  But if you are looking for a starting point or are interested in teaching your kids the basic stories behind some of the greatest heroes of church history, you need to buy this book.  I really think you'll like it, and I have no doubt that you will be encouraged in the Faith.

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